Good Morning Gorgeous

Mary J. Blige

300 Entertainment/Mary Jane Productions, 2022

http://www.maryjblige.com

REVIEW BY: Peter Piatkowski

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/15/2022

Mary J. Blige is probably the wisest woman in pop music. She sings songs about heartache and adversity, but from the perspective of a sage, counselling her girlfriends. Listening to Mary J. Blige records is like watching cathartic episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. In her career, Blige has created some of the most emotionally satisfying music, mining her personal struggles to create beautiful art. On her 14th and latest, the aptly titled Good Morning Gorgeous, the singer doesn’t alter her formula, but provides another therapeutic listen.

So much of the new album harkens back to classic ’70s soul with sampled horns, live drums, and funky bass. The cracking first track “No Idea” explodes with Soul Train-like vibes, the lyrics looking at Blige’s upbringing as she offers smart advice, urging, “Don't chase the money, be humble and let it find you,” maintaining that hard work, honesty, and passion are the best rewards and indicators of success in life. Produced by Bongo ByTheWay, the song is a joyful cacophony of Black music radio, with soul jostling for space with contemporary r&b. It’s a canny way to open the record because it’s a standout track that starts off my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Good Morning Gorgeous with a bang.

Blige brings that fantastic energy to the other high points on the album. The title track, a stunning anthem of self-love and self-confidence is a gem. A collaboration with Oscar- and Grammy-winning H.E.R., the tune is a comforting uplifting pep talk that has Blige candidly share her feelings of doubt and self-loathing, as she uses the song’s title – “Good Morning Gorgeous” – as a personal mantra. This is classic Mary J. Blige as she imparts the pain and urgency of the song with her throaty, impassioned voice.

Focusing on the theme of self-empowerment, she takes a different tone with the boastful “Amazing,” a duet with DJ Khaled. Instead of using pain to inspire her listeners, Blige rightly seizes the mic to boast of her fabulousness. Over a loud, clattering club beat, our platinum diva joyfully brags “Everyday like my birthday / bring the cake in / I feel good, I feel great, man / I feel amazing.” Khaled introduces the track by announcing Blige’s entrance with the reverent “All hail to the Queen.” It’s a delirious, fun track that is energetic and jolts the album with a go-for-broke euphoria.

Working with London on da Track on the affectionate throwback track “Falling in Love,” Blige offers a beautiful vocal performance, doing some of her best singing. The emotional ballad “Enough” sports similarly superb vocal work. One of the most notable things about Good Morning Gorgeous is just how fantastic her singing is throughout the album. Her voice has aged nicely, adding a heft and a power to the grit and the rasp.

It's true that little of Good Morning Gorgeous is experimental or revelatory. A lot of the themes on the album have been explored in past Mary J. Blige records and she doesn’t shift too far from the kinds of topics she’s done before; still, there’s a pride and strength in an artist who does what she does so well.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2022 Peter Piatkowski and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of 300 Entertainment/Mary Jane Productions, and is used for informational purposes only.