Growing Pains

Studio Album by released in 2007

Growing Pains review

True diva Mary J. Blige shining as always

It is already fifteen years of her career that the modern soul and hip hop Queen Mary J. Blige continues her dialogue with the fans, in which she tells of her hard life, re-experiences the most serious moments of her life with all of her passion and power and gives useful advice. There is no place for narcissism in her songs, but they contain enough of self-esteem, assertiveness and independence. The singer's main source of material is her own life; therefore most of her creations are of autobiographic character as well as the last seventh album, 2005's The Breakthrough. Last year Mary made a great present to all of her fans – a best-of collection Reflections: A Retrospective, and at the end of this year her eighth studio album Growing Pains is ready for release. Composers Andre Harris and Vidal Davis, producers Bryan-Michael Cox, Ne-Yo, Tricky Stewart and Pharrell Williams have made their contribution to what resulted into a great record in the best traditions of R&B, soul and hip hop, with true diva Mary J. Blige shining as always.

The singer turns to hip hop soul on Growing Pains

Even being happily married, Mary never ceasing surviving her identity crisis, asking herself if she deserves everything she has, and all these thoughts are naturally reflected in her music. Growing Pains finds the singer turning to her beloved hip hop soul territory, and it is lovely opening track Work That, performed with Busta Rhymes that gives the mood to the whole record. Ludacris has refined a powerful composition Grown Woman with his recognizable rapping, while the first single Just Fine, an up-tempo song with an unusual tune and a contagious beat showcases the singer's positive mood. On Feel Like A Woman Mary sings of material values implying how men should pay attention to their wives and girlfriends, while the lyrics of another danceable composition Shake Down featuring Usher is filled with interesting if not a bit simple metaphors. Track Till The Morning suits best for a romantic evening tete-a-tete, its title speaks for itself, whereas Roses refined with an amazing bass line is one of the frankest songs on the album, full of confessions that the singer's relationship with her beloved are not always cloudless. Melodious ballads Fade Away and Smoke are both examples of what a brilliant vocalist Mary is, and title track Work In Progress (Growing Pains) is the diva's way to share her most inner thoughts about the pressure she feels every day. On the whole most of the songs on Growing Pains are sure to become hits, and it definitely contains practically no fillers.

Mary is not going to pitch upon what she has achieved

Mary J. Blige's faultless vocals are able to refine even the most pessimistic song. Fortunately, there is less and less of them with each new album as the heavy load of reminiscences of her tough childhood are eventually substituted for the joy of today's well-being. Yet the singer realizes what price she has paid for it, and one can understand it listening to Growing Pains, which offers joyful, sad, reflective and frankly angry songs. Telling of her new album Mary said that she was not going to pitch upon what she has achieved and still wanted to search for something new, even making mistakes. Many recognize themselves listening to her songs for the singer is very good at depicting simple situations every person can find oneself in, and expresses wishes and hopes that are alien to none of us. At the same time Mary J. Blige has already become a singer who is almost preaching by means of her music, and the calling she makes always finds response in the hearts of many thousands of listeners. It goes without saying that Growing Pains is one of the best R&B albums of the year and serves a splendid continuation of the beautiful diva's successful career.