Mary J. Blige‘s new album, The London Sessions, is notable for its uptempo tracks, which are produced and written with the help of artists like Disclosure and Sam Smith. But one of the album’s strongest songs is a classic Blige ballad, “Whole Damn Year.” The singer released the video for the song on Tuesday (Dec. 2):
“Whole Damn Year” is a spare, elegant track co-written by English singer Emeli Sande, who has a pair of vibrant contributions on The London Sessions. Blige is simultaneously tough and vulnerable. “Winter took most of my heart/ And spring punched right in the stomach,” she sings. “Summer came looking for blood/ And by autumn, I was left with nothing.”
The video, shot in black and white, dramatizes the violence in Blige’s words. It includes scenes of domestic abuse and bullying. In the end, the couples seem to hug and make up. But “Whole Damn Year” suggests it’s not that simple.