On her now-classic 1994 album "My Life," Mary J. Blige sang the following words: "All I really want is to be happy.
On her now-classic 1994 album "My Life," Mary J. Blige sang the following words: "All I really want is to be happy." With this, her new studio recording, Blige seems to have found what she has been looking for all these years. Primarily produced by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, the spirited, if uneven, "Love & Life" is home to funky sensations, hip-hop attitude and loved-up lyrics. (Interestingly, unlike previous recordings, references to "Him," the man above, are next to nowhere.) The boiling-hot "Ooh!" recalls "Rock Steady"-era Aretha Franklin, while the summery "Willing & Waiting" brings back memories of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You." Of course, those desiring the Blige of yore will find solace in the sterling "Press On," the haunting "Friends," the sassy "It's a Wrap" and the Dr. Dre-produced "Not Today" (featuring Eve).—MP