Our favorite voices of the '90s return with albums to remind us that soul still lives in R&B music.
In "The London Sessions" Mary J. Blige teams up with London's hottest producers, writers and singers. Her roster includes Emeli Sandé and Sam Smith among other top names in London's music scene. The concept came after Blige recorded a remix with Disclosure for their single, "F For You." Her voice with Disclosure's familiar '90s garage rhythm was one of the best songs in electronic dance music this year. However, don't think she is releasing a dance album. "The London Sessions" is also ballad heavy and presents a new way to enjoy Blige's bluesy voice. "Not Loving You" and "Therapy" both penned by Sam Smith are songs that will live on forever, much like records by soul pioneers Aretha Franklin and Chaka Kahn. In-between these songs there's the Naughty Boy produced "Whole Damn Year" and another Disclosure collaboration titled, "Right Now." Here Mary J. Blige finds a way to fit into today's music without sounding as if she is trying too hard. This is something she has failed to do in the past. Looks like the folks in London brought out the best in the "No More Drama" singer. Mary has said it herself that London is great place to record music.
Faith Evans' latest release, "Incomparable" is another breath of fresh air in soul music. As always, Evans proves to be an impressive one-person girl group thanks to her signature harmonies and arrangements. Like Blige, the 20-year music veteran has not lost a beat and continues to present great work after years of timeless music. The album opens with "Thank You Goodnight" which sounds like it could easily play next to a classic gospel song if only she were not talking about a one-night stand. "Incomparable" is no doubt one of Evans sexiest albums, but after 2 divorces it's about time she decided to go solo and do what good R&B lyrics are made of. Nevertheless, while "Incomparable" is indeed sexy, it is also vulnerable, playful and inspiring with Evans' lively vocals being a strong focal point the entire way through. The latest single, "Fragile" transforms "California Dreaming" by The Mamas & the Papas into a passionate soul track where Evans sings of her struggles with trusting again. Other notable songs are "Extraordinary," "Forever" and the Jazmine Sullivan penned "He Is."
Stream more new music from Mary J. Blige & Faith Evans: