Mary J. Blige has made a career out of tough, resilient ballads, songs like “Not Gon’ Cry,” “No More Drama” and “Be Without You.” Lately she’s been in the studio with a group of English artists — notably Disclosure and Naughty Boy, who are better known for dance beats than tear-jerkers. But two new Blige tracks that appeared Monday (Sept. 22) — one leak, one official release — from her London recording sessions show that she’s not abandoning an important part of her history.
The leaked tune, “Whole Damn Year” (since pulled from the Web), puts Blige in her comfort zone, singing over a lazy piano and a sharp break beat. “It took a whole damn year to repair my body, took a whole damn year,” Blige sings, “gonna take a long, long year for me to trust somebody.” She has always been at her strongest when she’s bouncing back.
“Therapy,” the other Blige sing to appear today, is an official single that premiered on New York’s Z100 (check out the radio rip here or click below). This one is co-written by Sam Smith, whose gospel-influenced “Stay With Me” is currently No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Therapy” keeps things simple, building around doo-wop backing vocals and a loose guitar riff. The hook comes as a series of questions. “Why would I spend the rest of the year alone, when I can go to therapy two times a day?” “Why would I spend the rest of the week so bitter…when I can go to therapy?” At times, Blige’s intonation sounds remarkably close to Amy Winehouse‘s.
“Therapy” is available as a free download for fans who pre-order Blige’s forthcoming album, The London Sessions, due Nov. 24.