Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blige Spawns A Pupil

Mary J Blige's Breakthrough follows a similar path of all her studio albums: too long and too reliable on generic R&B sounds. Boy, I wish she'd just knock off a 45 minute all live instrument album. Blige was supposed to release a Greatest Hits album in 2005, but that got pushed back. "Be Without You" and "Baggage" would make nice supplements to that package. 1999's Mary and 2000's No More Drama are her best studio albums, but to really hear Blige in her element, try 1998's The Tour, which is a forgotten gem in her catalog. 22 year old Keyshia Cole grew up under tough times in Oakland, and her debut The Way It Is doesn't have much time for straight up love songs. Like Blige, she doesn't have a classic R&B voice, but she knows how to sell her (mostly) co-written songs. Happily free of Rap cameos, it's as straight as ladies Soul can get in the 00's. Cole could be the next Blige, who at 35 is now the standard bearer of Hip Hop Women Soul.
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