Breakthrough

The Breakthrough

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

Overview

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.

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/20/2005
Label:
Geffen Records
UPC:
0602498871102
catalogNumber:
000572202
Rank:
33852

Related Subjects

Tracks

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
will.i.am   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
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
Shawn Carter   Composer
will.i.am   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
the mvp of hip hop soul & r&b is back wit this breakthrough. taking back her sit back a the top of her game showing beyonce,ashanit amier ,fahit evans , how it done. with a hot frist single ,fresh new look and an hot cd to back her up. after her an puff reteam up for her 2003 release of love&live which should have been title oil&water.they came out with an set of song that were lackluster and weak.but mary rise again with this 17 set disc .working with the like of jimmy jam&terry lewis,dre vidal,rodney jenkeis,jay-z, she hit us with an classsic. of hip hop ,jazz,pop, soul, hiphop soul the this is truely the breakthrought mary fan have been waiting for .
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
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 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
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
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 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
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.
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
Upon hearing the first track from Mary J. Blige’s “The Breakthrough,” I thought of it as a kind of press release sent to her detractors, those who had labeled her last effort, 2003’s “Love & Life,” a failure. An almost militaristic beat rose from the silence, meet- ing synthesized horns that suggested royalty: a queen’s introduction, then the song open- ed up in perfect tempo. Her vocals were confident – almost cocky, and the result seemed like a statement. It was like she was musically saying, “I am happy, but it makes me no less a force to be reckoned with. I don’t need pain to be great.” Those who follow Blige’s career should be aware that in some entertainment circles, as well as amongst some of her own fan base, a conclusion had been reached about the singer. They were under the impression that Blige’s vast appeal (and success) was somehow the result of mining her life’s struggles, and consistently sharing her emotional findings with us through her music. She has done that extremely well of course (possessing a soulfulness in her voice that rivals that of Aretha Franklin), but if you believe such a thing, then it may make sense that a married, spiritually grounded, content Blige would succumb to “commercial” mediocrity or worse. But, something funny happened on the way to the studio …. Released in December 2005, just in time for the holidays, the CD was certainly anticipated (as most of her efforts had been), yet the track “No One Will Do,” has no connection to pain. The song communicates devotion, and the honesty associated with that. Maybe it is simply about true love, which is what she has seemingly found. The overall release appears to be about love, fidelity, faith, and perseverance. If this is the case, maybe she hasn’t lost her knack for chronicling her experiences through her music at all. This is merely the next chapter. It too is her life, and is honest progress. And, if this is her “breakthrough,” then what we find on the other side is worth revealing. The material here is a showcase for Mary J. Blige’s happiness through the songs themselves, incorporating all she does well in triumphant fashion. The radio hit, “Be Without You” is as close to perfect as a song in this genre can be. With its clapping beat, catchy chorus, and delicate, but hip-hop flavored, keyboard melody, the tune is rock solid. It is all held together by the lyrics, as well as her signature vocals … which are as good as ever. As is the standard for the R&B genre these days, guest artists are also present, which include Will I Am (from the Black Eyed Peas), The Game, and Jay-Z. Only her guests don’t steal the show, which can often happen. It ends up being quite the opposite here. In fact, on “Can’t Hide from Luv,” when Jay-Z declares, “this is beautiful music, Ladies and Gentleman,” there is no doubt that this is the case. He seems to be offering the “play-by-play,” as opposed to putting his own stamp on the track. Blige inhabits her work with a sonic urgency here, and a sharp sense of vocal command, so that there is never a doubt about it being her show. Even when Blige uses borrowed material, such as the clever re-working of The Game’s “Hate It or Love It” into a clever retrospective of her career, and personalizing U2’s “One,” on the final track, the quality of the CD doesn’t suffer … although the latter is a bit out of place (which might be why it is the last song). Including Bono himself on the track was a wise decision, and this sort of respectful inclusion was also bestowed upon Elton John when he played the melody from “Bennie and the Jets” on her song “Deep Inside,” from her 1999 release, Mary. Blige&#8217
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best cd's MJB has created since My Life. It is poetic, profound and deeply soulful. She comes alive in this testimony that goodness comes to those who wait. She recognizes the trials of her life and rejoices in the good things she now possesses. With every track, she renews your belief that she is the "Queen"! If you don't know...buy this cd and you will soon find out! It is worth every penny!
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.
12YearsOld More than 1 year ago
Over the holidays, I had a lot of family visiting. Christmas really brought us together. When they left I missed them, but more family came for New Years. As of yesterday, everybody is gone. Miles and miles away from me again. It was so hard to see them all go, but I knew that crying was not going to bring them back. I decided to listen to the new Mary J Blige CD I received for Christmas. "Breakthrough" saved my life! The inspiration and wisdom in the lyrics reassured me that everything was going to be alright. Mary, if I could talk to you right now, there would be no limit to my thanking you. You are a strong person and an amazing musician. Keep going! No matter how much it hurts, time will heal you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary J.Blige's new album, "The Breakthrough" is not only outstanding, but also exhilarating and can deeply move a person down to the soul. In this cd she takes numerous amounts of drama from her life and relates it towards her music. One of the songs on this dazzling and wonderful piece of work is called, "Be Without You" celebrates the absolute love that her husband has brought to her life. This love is definitely expressed and spoken of in this song which has been proved by the fact that it has been on TRL's top 10 songs for many weeks. It also has been considered a hit to others. With this new and very credible album, Mary J. Blige emerges once again as a MVP among R&B artists. She seems to be more comfortable and confident with her music, which not only makes this album, here music, and herself outshine surface forth in the music world with great music, power, and even greater enthusiasm, than she ever had before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like I said MJB is back. The queen of Hip Hop's new album the Breakthrough album as many catchy great and creative songs. Hands down its one of her best. Her single be without you made it all the way and in my opinon was her best song of all time the songs lyrics are so touching and heart warming I love it. Also on the album is "mjb da mvp" its a excelent song because its easy to dance to. One of my favirot songs is "Father in you" because its a song about how her father left her and its a sad story with a good beat and touching words that get right to the point. The songs on the album are ones you can just sit and listen to and others that just make you want to get up and dance. Thats why I gave this album 5 stars because it is such an outstanding album. I recommend it to everyone.
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. i.am, 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
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, 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
This cd can give you the will to keep going.I like the fact that she holds nothing back.With her music you can hear the good and the bad.I think the people who dont like this cd are crazy.With age and time she has gotten better and it is always good to have someone you can put the 1st cd they made and the last one and see them growing.I think that the haters are just the ones who never understood the her at all. God Bless and keep it going cant wait for her next cd
Guest More than 1 year ago
MJB fell off with her last 3 albums, but she came back and she did it AGAIN!!! One word for this album...BEAUTIFUL.
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 “...my 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
If you a a fan of Mary J. Blige or good soulful R&B, then THE BREAKTHOUGH is a must have for your music collection. You won't be disappointed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is great! Mary has matured! Worth every penny!
Guest More than 1 year ago
You are gonna LOVE this ! This CD has Hit after Hit! I don't think I've ever been so pleased as a fan. I love it. Straight from the First Jam you will just be a happy and satisfied customer. It is a must have for Mary's fans and anyone slightly curious about Mary's music. Thank you Mary ! I can't wait for the concert !