The Breakthrough

Studio Album by released in 2005
The Breakthrough's tracklist:
No One Will Do
Send Ringtone
Enough Cryin' (feat. Brook)
Send Ringtone
About You (feat. will.i.am)
Send Ringtone
Be Without You
Send Ringtone
Gonna Breakthrough (feat. Brook)
Send Ringtone
Good Woman Down
Send Ringtone
Take Me as I Am
Send Ringtone
Baggage
Send Ringtone
Can't Hide From Luv (feat. Jay-Z)
Send Ringtone
MJB da MVP
Send Ringtone
Can't Get Enough
Send Ringtone
Ain't Really Love
Send Ringtone
I Found My Everything (feat. Raphael Saadiq)
Send Ringtone
Father in You
Send Ringtone
Alone (feat. Dave Young)
Send Ringtone
Send Ringtone
So Lady (feat. Raphael Saadiq)
Send Ringtone

The Breakthrough review

Mary J. Blige returns with her seventh studio album The Breakthrough

When her debut album, What's the 411? hit the street in 1992, critics and fans alike were floored by its powerful combination of modern R&B with an edgy rap sound that glanced off of the pain and grit of Mary J. Blige's Yonkers, NY childhood. Called alternately the new Chaka Khan or new Aretha Franklin, Blige had little in common stylistically with either of those artists, but like them helped adorn soul music with new textures and flavors that inspired a whole generation of musicians. From early collaborations with Sean 'P Diddy' Coombs to recent guest spots with The Game, it's hard to find anybody in the hip-hop world with a bad word to say about Mary J. Blige. For thirteen years she has reigned supreme as the undisputed queen of hip-hop soul and now she returns with her seventh studio album and her first since 2003's Love & Life. On The Breakthrough Mary showcases her considerable talent, all while displaying a newfound spiritual growth. Nowadays she's happily married, and the album is full of songs declaring her love for her husband and how she's putting her bad days behind her and moving on.

Single Be Without You may be one of the best ballads Mary's ever recorded

For the most part, the hip-hop side of the equation has been eliminated, with Mary concentrating on mid-tempo soul confessionals such as Take Me As I Am and Baggage. About You silkily weaves in a sample of Nina Simone's Feeling Good – not many modern day singers can sound the equal to Simone, but Blige manages it. The taut production by Will I Am of Black Eyed Peas recalls former glories such as Family Affair, making it one of the best tracks on the album. Similarly, a sample of Otis Redding & Carla Thomas' Tramp in Gonna Breakthrough drives the song along perfectly, making it a smooth, superior slab of classy soul. The brilliant single Be Without You may just be one of the best ballads Mary's ever recorded while fans of the harder stuff will be pleased to hear her perform on tried and tested beats such as Mjb Da MVP (which uses 50 Cent's Hate It Or Love It). Jay-Z shows up on the euphoric Can't Hide From Luv, which produces almost as many audio endorphins as Beyonce's Crazy In Love did a couple of years ago. The biggest surprise here is the cover of U2's One, featuring none other than Bono himself, on which the music is surprisingly faithful although her vocals tend to deviate far from the original melody. You'd think there'd been more than enough versions of this song to last a lifetime, but Blige and Bono's voices work really well together.

Mary's records are always about more than just the music

Over the course of 13 years, with a voice that is rough and ready, sweet and pure, Mary J. Blige is capable of conveying heartache and happiness in a single musical phrase. A confessional singer, her emotional honesty reflects the great traditions of blues and soul with a ripped-from-the-pages-of-your-diary immediacy that has won her countless honors and a devoted, ever-growing audience around the world. More than a vocalist, she is an accomplished three-time Grammy Award winning recording artist known for her electrifying live performances and dramatic videos. On The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige continues to work with a hot-list of producers. Helming this album’s musical journey is an all-star cast of producers including Bryan-Michael Cox, Rodney Jerkins, the Black Eyed Peas’ Will I Am, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Dre & Vidal, Raphael Saadiq and more. But Mary's records are always about more than just the music. Her strength of personality and her ability to wring drama from the plainest backdrop are what make Mary the brightest star in modern soul's galaxy. The songs on The Breakthrough are evidence of Mary’s journey from her childhood in the projects of Yonkers, New York, to her early successes, to her current breakthrough.