Growing Pains

( 13 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Marisa Brown
Eight albums into her career and comfortably settled into married life -- and, for the most part, herself -- Mary J. Blige continues to prove her versatility and strength, building off 2005's The Breakthrough, but not copying from it. Her increased self-confidence, some of which comes from confessing her all-too-human flaws, makes Growing Pains a mature, polished, and utterly professional set of well-crafted songs. Blige, as always, is in great vocal form: her clear, distinctive voice carries the record with its dips and swoops and cries, but the embellishments never get in the way of melody, never replace the meaning of words with excessive vibrato or melisma. Musically, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Marisa Brown
Eight albums into her career and comfortably settled into married life -- and, for the most part, herself -- Mary J. Blige continues to prove her versatility and strength, building off 2005's The Breakthrough, but not copying from it. Her increased self-confidence, some of which comes from confessing her all-too-human flaws, makes Growing Pains a mature, polished, and utterly professional set of well-crafted songs. Blige, as always, is in great vocal form: her clear, distinctive voice carries the record with its dips and swoops and cries, but the embellishments never get in the way of melody, never replace the meaning of words with excessive vibrato or melisma. Musically, in fact, the album takes an even greater step toward pop foreshadowed, no doubt, by the cover of U2's "One" on her previous release, with songs like "Fade Away," which borrows heavily from '80s pop, and "Talk to Me," which is informed by classic soul and uses an Emotions sample underneath the guitars and keyboards, helping to set the overall tone. Blige certainly hasn't lost her title of Queen of Hip-Hop Soul -- the opening, iTunes-sanctioned track, "Work That," is all swagger and affirmation with a great urban beat, the Neptunes-produced "Till the Morning" is funky and warm, and "Stay Down" takes a look back at mid-'90s R&B with rambling lyrical lines, including a fantastic reference to The Jeffersons, but she's opened herself up to more styles here, and successfully. She has been able to do what few others before her have: cater to her crossover audience without losing the essence of what she really is and where she came from, and so all of Growing Pains, from its upbeat beginning to its reflective, personal ending though the last track, "Come to Me Peace" is the only real miss on the entire album, doesn't seem forced or calculated. These are strong songs, songs that keep hooks in mind, and while Blige's lyrics can occasionally border on cheesy -- like on "What Love Is," for example -- the very sincere passion she expresses, both in her voice and her words, is enough to erase, or at least fade, the platitudes, leaving only the emotion, the doubt and the love and the insecurity and the confidence and the talent, making for a very complete and satisfying listen.
Entertainment Weekly - Leah Greenblatt
The first two singles unleash Blige at her most commanding. On the buoyant, disco-delving ''Just Fine,'' she decrees, ''Keep your head up high/In yourself, believe in you, believe in me.'' Meanwhile, the even more potent ''Work That'' (now running in an iPod ad) casts Blige as the Pied Piper of independent womanhood. [B]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/18/2007
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • UPC: 602517520301
  • Catalog Number: 001031302
  • Sales rank: 35,364

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Work That (3:30)
  2. 2 Grown Woman (4:05)
  3. 3 Just Fine (4:02)
  4. 4 Feel Like a Woman (4:02)
  5. 5 Stay Down (4:22)
  6. 6 Hurt Again (4:07)
  7. 7 Shake Down (3:36)
  8. 8 Till the Morning (4:17)
  9. 9 Roses (4:35)
  10. 10 Fade Away (4:15)
  11. 11 What Love Is (4:03)
  12. 12 Work in Progress (Growing Pains) (4:00)
  13. 13 Talk to Me (4:09)
  14. 14 If You Love Me? (3:39)
  15. 15 Smoke (3:10)
  16. 16 Come to Me (Peace) (5:01)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mary J. Blige Primary Artist
Lee Blaske Strings
Eric Hudson Musician
D:Ream Vocals
Jazze Pha Keyboards
Christopher "Tricky" Stewart Keyboards
Omar Phillips Percussion
Bryan-Michael Cox Musician
Duane Dugger Horn
Andre Bowman Bass
Sean Garrett Vocals
Jesse Bond Guitar
Theron "Neff U" Feemster Musician
Chuck Harmony Musician
Haye Price Horn
James King Horn
Technical Credits
Mary J. Blige Composer, Executive Producer
Patrick Dillett Vocal Engineer
Ron Fair String Arrangements, String Conductor
Eric Hudson Composer, Producer, Engineer
Pat Thrall overdub engineer
Verdine White Composer
Corey Williams Engineer
Curtis Hudson Engineer
Jazze Pha Composer, Producer, drum programming
Kuk Harrell Composer, Vocal Engineer, Vocal Producer
Christopher "Tricky" Stewart Composer, Producer, drum programming
Pharrell Williams Composer
Andre Harris Composer, Producer
The Neptunes Producer
Johnta Austin Composer
Vidal Davis Composer, Producer
Andrew Coleman Engineer
Brian Sledge Composer
Bryan-Michael Cox Composer, Producer
Dru Castro Engineer
Kendu Isaacs Vocal Engineer, Management
Sam Thomas Engineer
Sean Garrett Composer, Producer
Alec Newell Engineer
The-Dream Composer
Ne-Yo Composer, Producer
Mikkel Storleer Eriksen Composer, Engineer
DeJion Madison Producer
Theron "Neff U" Feemster Producer
Danny "Stems" Cheung Vocal Engineer
Chuck Harmony Producer, Engineer
Brian "Big Bass" Gardner Mastering
Chris "Tek" O'Ryan Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    WOW!

    "Growing Pains" is a WONDERFUL CD! The lyrics to the songs are beautifully written, the music is composed and produced exquisitely, and Mary J. performs each song magnificently. This is my 1st Mary J. CD and I am sure it will not be my last.
    Over the years I was not too familiar with her work, nor was I too into rap. Yet I feel that Mary J. has evolved as a woman and a performer.
    She has changed physically over the years. You can tell by the way she carries herself now, speaks, and performs that she has evolved into one classy, more talented, and beautiful person.
    This CD is just terrific. It is motivational, thought-provoking, and simply excellent. Words have such beauty and power. "Growing Pains" is a PERFECT example of this!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mary Fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow...Mary really out did herself with this cd, she has really grown as a woman and performer....I saw her in concert and she was wonderful...Alot of women can relate to this cd and I truly love it.....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    SHE DID IT AGAIN, IM LOVING IT!!!!!!

    All i can say is she did it again!!!! i just love this cd...Just buy it play and you'll fall in love with it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    At it again !!

    Album is a sign that Mary is back doing what she does best making good music. A few of my favorites are Just Fine, Feel Like a Woman, Stay Down, Hurt Again & Shake Down. I would recommend this CD to anybody who loves to hear good music that they can relate to.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Listen an ye shall be reform lol

    this CD is what women should listen to when their going thruogh somethings

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WOW ! MJB da MVP..

    If you are a fan of Mary J. Blige, then you know her story. this CD is the latest relevation from her to us. It's filled with dancable tunes (Work That, Just Fine), tunes to make you think about your life and choices you make, and of course about love!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Voice of Victory

    Mary has sang her way into my heart for years. Every since the "I'm going down" lyrics. Now she has done it again!! This CD is so well rounded. Not too Hood but not too unlike Mary you know. She has some really creative tracks on here and they allow her passion to flow through, inturn allowing for her to do new stuff successfully!!! AND I LOVE IT!! This is a classic moment for the phrase that is sometimes used out of context "YOU GO GIRL!!"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted April 7, 2009

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    Posted February 10, 2009

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    Posted April 25, 2010

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    Posted March 8, 2011

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    Posted July 1, 2009

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews