4.7 43
by Mary J. Blige

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On her seventh studio album, The Breakthrough, long-suffering queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige sounds more confident and comfortable with her material than she did on 2003's uneven Love & Life. Although Blige has been saying for a while now that she wants no more drama, the recently wed New York native finally sounds…  See more details below


On her seventh studio album, The Breakthrough, long-suffering queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige sounds more confident and comfortable with her material than she did on 2003's uneven Love & Life. Although Blige has been saying for a while now that she wants no more drama, the recently wed New York native finally sounds convinced. From the jubilant opening track, "No One Will Do," to the melodic lead single, "Be Without You," Blige revels in the unconditional love that her husband has brought to her life. And clearly she's found a good man -- one who is patient enough to deal with his lady's difficult past, which she addresses on the plaintive "Baggage." Despite that song's repentant theme and the requisite "dump that zero and find yourself a hero" track ("Ain't Really Love"), the otherwise celebratory Breakthrough contains some of Blige's best music in years. Instant classics include the grown-and-sexy, Jay-Z-assisted "Can't Hide from Luv," the bluesy "I Found My Everything" (featuring Raphael Saadiq), and the nostalgic "MJB Da MVP," where Blige sings snippets of her greatest hits over the same vintage soul groove as the Game/50 Cent single "Hate It or Love It." Indeed, with her triumphant Breakthrough, Mary proves she's no longer buggin' and emerges -- once again -- as contemporary R&B's MVP.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
At the end of 2005, Mary J. Blige's career was supposed to be anthologized. The singer had her way, however, and one of her best studio albums came out instead. In retrospect, her previous album, 2003's Love & Life, was awkward; the P. Diddy collaborations, likely intended to recapture the magic the duo put together on What's the 411? and My Life, didn't always pay off, and Blige was about to become a wife, so the songs steeped in heartbreak and disappointment weren't delivered with as much power as they had been in the past. The Breakthrough also contains some of the drama that fans expect, despite Blige's continued happiness, but it's clear that she has gained enough distance from the uglier parts of her past that she can inhabit them and, once again, deliver those songs. The past does play a significant role in the album, as in "Baggage," where she apologies to her husband for bringing it into their relationship. "Father in You" sounds like a note-perfect facsimile of a classic soul ballad, rising and falling and twisting with a sensitive string arrangement, but the lyrics are pure Blige, acknowledging the ways in which her husband has made up for the absence of her father. On the nearly anthemic "Good Woman Down," she sees a less matured version of herself in young women and uses her experiences to advise. She jacks the beat from the Game's "Hate It or Love It" for "MJB da MVP," where she reflects on her career, thanks her supporters, and reasserts her rightful position as the soul hip-hop queen. It's one of several tracks to beam with a kind of contentment and confidence that Blige has never before possessed. Take "Can't Hide from Love," where she's such a force that Jay-Z dishes out a quick introduction and knows to stay out of the way for the remainder of the track, or the glorious "I Found My Everything," her "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Beat for beat, the album features the best round of productions Blige has been handed since the mid-'90s. Apart from only a couple lukewarm tracks and a poorly recorded version of "One" with U2, it is completely correct.
Rolling Stone - Barry Walters
An empathetic supporting cast revitalizes the hip-hop soul queen on this seventeen-track set of particularly classy material.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Geffen Records

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mary J. Blige   Primary Artist,Vocals
Bruce Dukov   Violin
Bobby Ross Avila   Guitar,Strings,Keyboards
Sid Page   Violin,String Instrument
Edge   Guitar
Robert Bacon   Guitar
Charlie Bisharat   String Instrument
Bono   Guitar,Vocals
Jacqueline Brand   Violin,String Instrument
Adam Clayton   Bass Guitar
Larry Corbett   Cello,String Instrument
Brian Dembow   Viola,String Instrument
Stephen Erdody   Cello,String Instrument
Ron Fair   Organ,Guitar,Harmonica,Piano,Conductor,Keyboards,Orchestra Bells
Julie Gigante   Violin,String Instrument
John Goux   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Endre Granat   Violin
Alan Grunfeld   String Instrument
Clayton Haslop   Violin,String Instrument
Paula Hochhalter   Strings,Cello,String Instrument
Bernard Kenny   Bass
Armen Ksadjikian   Cello,String Instrument
David Low   String Instrument
David Lowery   String Instrument
Rene Mandel   Violin
Harvey Mason   Glockenspiel,Timpani
Cornelius Mims   Bass
Larry Mullen   Percussion,Drums
Robin Olson   Violin
Katia Popov   Violin
Mark Robertson   Violin
Anatoly Rosinsky   Violin
Cecilia Tsan   Cello
Josefina Vergara   Violin,String Instrument
Craig Brockman   Keyboards
Dave Young   Vocals,Track Performer
Raphael Saadiq   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar
Suzie Katayama   Cello,String Instrument
Jay-Z   Rap
Natalie Leggett   Violin,String Instrument
Joel Deroin   String Instrument
Kelvin Wooten   Keyboards
James "Big Jim" Wright   Keyboards
Darrin McCann   Viola,String Instrument
Chalmers Alford   Guitar   Keyboards,Vocals
South Central Chamber Orchestra   Strings
Loren Dawson   Piano
Roberto Cani   Violin,String Instrument
50 Cent   Vocals
Samuel Formicola   Viola,String Instrument
Bryan-Michael Cox   Various
Alyssa Park   Violin,String Instrument
Andrew Duckles   Viola,String Instrument
Songa Lee   Violin,String Instrument
Robert Ozuna   Percussion,scratching,Drums
Tereza Stanislav   String Instrument
Brook   Vocals
Frank Ramonoe   Guitar
Charles Vail   Strings
Issiah "IZ" Avila   Bass,Percussion,Drums
Craig Brokman   Piano
Endre Genet   String Instrument
Rexell Hardy   Drums
Brook Lynn   Track Performer
Frank Ramono   Guitar
South Central Orchestra   Strings
Victoria Miskolczy   Viola
Phillip Levy   Violin,String Instrument
Marlow Fisher   Viola,String Instrument
Mario de León   Violin,String Instrument
Lily Ho Chen   Violin,String Instrument
Matthew Funes   String Instrument
Keith Harris   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Synthesizer Bass

Technical Credits

Freddie Jackson   Composer
Lonnie Liston Smith   Composer
Bunny Sigler   Composer
Bobby Ross Avila   Composer,Producer
Edge   Composer
Robert Aries   Composer
Mary J. Blige   Composer,Producer,Vocal Arrangements,Vocal Producer
Bono   Composer
Leslie Bricusse   Composer
Sean Carter   Composer
Adam Clayton   Composer
Patrick Dillett   Engineer,Vocal Producer
Reginald Dozier   Engineer
Ron Fair   Producer,Vocal Arrangements,String Arrangements,Vocal Producer
Allan Felder   Composer
Larry Gold   String Arrangements
Norman Harris   Composer
Jimmy Jam   Producer
Terry Lewis   Composer,Producer
Larry Mullen   Composer
Anthony Newley   Composer
Allen Sides   Engineer
Troy Taylor   Vocal Producer
Ryan Toby   Composer
Benjamin F. Wright   String Arrangements,String Conductor,String Writing
Rodney Jerkins   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Raphael Saadiq   Composer,Producer
Jan Fairchild   Engineer
Paul Foley   Engineer
Andre Harris   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
James "Big Jim" Wright   Producer   Composer,Engineer
Johnta Austin   Composer,Vocal Producer
Drew FitzGerald   Art Direction
Dave Young Orchestra   Vocal Producer
Vidal Davis   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Tal Herzberg   Producer,Engineer
Jason Perry   Composer
Justice League   Producer
Jake & the Phatman   Producer
Infinity   Producer
Bryan-Michael Cox   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,Instrumentation
Curtis Jackson   Composer
Matt Marrin   Engineer
Candice Childress   Composer
John Tanksley   Engineer
Kendu Isaacs   Management
Keri Hilson   Composer,Vocal Arrangements
9th Wonder   Producer
Ezekiel Lewis   Composer
Michael Eleopoulos   Engineer
Robert Ozuna   Composer
Anthony Lavon Evans   Engineer
Davel "Bo" McKenzie   Producer
Sean Garrett   Composer,Vocal Producer
Candice Nelson   Composer
Charles "Biscuits" Brungardt   Vocal Producer
Issiah "IZ" Avila   Producer
Dernst Emile   Composer
Jayceon Taylor   Composer
Anthony "Devyne" Evans   Engineer
Danny "Stems" Cheung   Engineer
Jaycen Joshua   Engineer
Diana Gordon   Composer
Keith Harris   Composer

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The Breakthrough 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary J Blige's latest cd release "The Breakthrough" doe's just that this cd shows just how much the artist has matured
Guest More than 1 year ago
The new album "The Breakthrough", from multi-platinum, award winning R&B/Hip-Hop soulstress Mary J. Blige, showcases Mary at the height of her career. With features from Jay-Z(Can't Hide From Luv),U2(One),and Raphael Saddiq(So Lady), Mary dominates this 17 track set, holding her own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this album is hot ta def!! I just love the U2 joint a lot. I can put it in and let it play front to back. Thats the type of albums MJB was known for and we got use to that so when the last two came out, they did't have that same affect but it was Mary. I LOVE her
Guest More than 1 year ago
4 really good songs but the entire CD is listenable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary J. Blige's album is a Breakthrough for her. She delivers control like never before while maintaining her realness that has fueled her success as an artist. Instrumentally, the background music provides the listener with sentiments of different genres and time periods of music to impart the feelings written into the words of the songs. The variety of song styles on this album makes it hard to judge songs versus each other, but, will allow this album to transcend every category that the music industry tries to place Mary in.This album is a collection of songs which Mary has recorded to express her breakthroughs in emotional, physical, musical, control, and style barriers that have previously influenced her life and music. Examples of the versatility which Mary displays can be found in “I Found My Everything." Mary brings out her, “Aretha Franklin soulfulness and the Patti Labelle power ballad crooner," for the world. After listening to the song it is no wonder why Mary continues to win the Lady of Soul awards from Soul Train... she is a true soul singer great. Following “ Everything," with, “Alone" Mary brings her R&B ballad skills to display. Mary makes you believe her when she says that she doesn't want to be alone and that she, “can't do this alone." David Young is great and keeps up with Mary very nicely. “Father in You" is one of the best songs that Mary has on the album. The song shows Mary's reality about relationship which many women have yet to reach, and that men need to hear. “MJB da MVP" is actually the first song that I heard on the radio and made me want to be the first to own the album. I don't have enough room, nor time, to write about every song on the album but if I can say nothing else... BUY THIS ALBUM.Solidified as a fan on first hearing Real Love, and being captivated by her voice since her days behind Father MC, Mary has been a part of my life for a LONG time. Breakthrough will surely be part of my Mary J. Blige music collection and should be for anyone who wishes to chronicle the life of one of Hip Hop's most influential singers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, the Mary J Blige we loev is back! She's sounding great. With a strong lead single "Be without you," she sets the tone for a balanced and focused album. Other great cuts are "About you" and "good woman down" although the last few cuts are weak. What an interesting year, first Mariah makes a comeback and nor Mary. I ain't compalining.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am, as always, proud of her and her work. I've gone through similar situations, and for her to be honest with herself and everyone else and to continue to move on has always inspired me. She has made it and I understand and applaud her and this album. This a representation of her, her trial & tribulations, and her success in LIFE. I feel you and I am proud of you as if you were my sister.
Guest More than 1 year ago
she didnt comeback, she never left. She is one the illest in the game.Mary's vocals on "be without you", show her heart and soul still pulsates vigirously.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Awesome album. It's one of her best yet. She's definetely grown as a person, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. I feel, I've grown with her. I love MJB forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished listening to Mary's new album "The Breakthrough" and you already know it was just impeccable, as if you didn't know. She continues to tell the world why she is and always will be The Queen of Hip-Hop & R&B. This album is for everybody. I have been buying and listening to Mary since I can remember and I just turned 18. She sings some of the most realists and in powering music you can hear from a person. My favorite track would have to be "Take Me As I Am". Everybody should definitely add the album to his or her collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm so excited about this CD MJB The Breakthrough! This CD is beautifully sung arranged and FELT! Right from the start Mary tells you how it is to be with a good man. The nexttime she lets you know whats really up with a bad one. Really all of the lyrics are felt like a sonic boom. She sings with such heartfelt surrender and strength and the clarity of the stories in her songs bought joy to my spirit and at times tears to my eyes.The instrumentation and arrangements were beautiful, breathtaking and fierce! All of the songs are the real thing---I loved them all. One by U2 that she does is phenominal and wrought full of sincere emotion. She stayed with the original score---Brave and smart thing to do. If you do not buy this CD you are truly missing out on a MASTERPIECE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Breakthrough Album is a Classic!!!! This Album in my opion is her best, yes her best so far.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe this album reminds me of the 411. I truly love the ablum. Every track is good. The one or two tracks that you don't favor the first time you listen to the album will end up growing on you and I bet you'll know the words. As a young women there are serveral songs that I can relate to. I just love how every one of her tracks reveals a story of how she feels. It is as if she is telling you in regular words how she is feeling now in her life. I love the album!
Guest More than 1 year ago
mary if you want to make that Mariah money you better stop holding out and spend some money on better writers, that production is hot to death, but the writing is mediocre at best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary J Blige is one of the most talented singers to ever walk the face of the earth. There no words to describe how she pulls you into her world. I was 15 years old when I first heard her, I loved her then, as I love her now. She gives so much inspiration to up and coming artists, and women in general. I love her honesty, her determination. And I also love how when she hits a note that isn't quite right, she just laughs and keeps on going. She is so professional. She has proven that talent can keep you in this game, and not getting naked. Keep going lil Mary Jane. I love you girl. Hopefully, in the future, we can work together. I will be sending you my demo. Peace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i got the cd the day it came out i was the first person in line to get it. and the hole cd is to die for every song on the cd is good it is you cant say that every cd youve bought has more than 3 good songs .well miss mary has done it again every song is the bomb love it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of MJB, but im not sure if this album is just a continuation of the pain or a true breakthrough. It starts out GREAT, but seems to drag on from there. I'll keep listening to it to see if it grabs me the way the others have. I miss the uptempo songs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A lot of the songs i can relate to i love a album that has more then 1 outstanding track on them. This album has a lot of #1 hits and i look forward to the next single.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is great! Mary has matured! Worth every penny!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary, with the powerhouse voice, I am a huge fan who is honored to know your music, your heart, your soul! The album is Tripple Platinum right now as far as I'm concerned. God Bless you Mary!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the onset of this album with the instant classic, No One Will Do, Mary, makes it quite clear for those unfortunate souls who didn't already know, that she is without a doubt the Queen. As I listened to the album, I realized that I started to cry actual tears, not of sadness but of pure joy. Being an ardent follower of MJB's ups and downs since her first album in the early 90's, and feeling her pain alongside every publicized drama to now hearing this gem of an album and knowing and truly believing that she has eventually found happiness, is a true blessing. Her album is pure glory, there is no one, NO ONE on the scene able to even try to compete with her, she is without a doubt a legend in her time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No matter what she sings she is still one of the greatest artist of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's obvious from the first note that this has been a long time coming for Mary J. For all of us who have been with her from What's the 411 through My Life and all subsequent albums (though they've all had fine moments) I suspect we knew she had much more to give. This is the moment we've been waiting for. Mary gives it her all on this joint and it feels good. Still a newleywed, marriage obviously agrees with her and she's professing the truest of love and life like never before. This album showcases some of the finest production since My Life and that's saying alot. Each producer knew just what Mary needed in order to make each track shine. Just like back in the day when a good album truly flowed, this one is no exception. At this point in her career it's true that Mary J. gets much love and respect from many other musicians but I suspect that she's proudest of this moment because of what's she's been through and lived to tell the tale. The Queen has truly arrived.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On Mary J Bilge's new album "Breakthrough" she belts out her happiness and her sadness. In album's first single "Be Without You" she sings of the happiness of her marriage. She has collaborated with artists such as U2, Jay-Z, Will., Dave Young and Brook. On track 5," Gonna Breakthrough" Blige gives a club hip-hop feel and on "Take Me As I Am", Blige discusses her past in a smooth sultry sound. Overall "The Breakthrough" is a hit. Expect to see this album at the top of the charts!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After a full review of the brekthrough, it let me know why iam a true die heart fan of Mary's there aint no other artist like her she always keep it real and give it to you straight with no chaser. And that's why she is still on top 15 years later there's no way you can't respect her.I love everyone she worked with on this album. Ijust wish that she could have worked with her bestfriend Lil Kim this time around. i wish her the best with her career and her personal life Mary is finally happy and that what she deserve.