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Reflections - A Retrospective
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2006
People seem to be a bit confused with this CD. It is NOT a Greatest Hits disc. Mary has been on several talk shows promoting Reflections (A Retrosepctive)and she has said that it was not intended to be a greatest hits. MJB has gone on to say that she wanted to put together a collection of songs that she gets a lot of emails and letters about, from her fans, telling her how much these peticular songs have impacted their lives.

With that being said, she has chosen some pretty big milestone songs in her career. Mary obviously included the song that put her on the map -"Real Love". Everyone knows this as her first bonafide hit and takes you back to that early 90's sound. She also took such great tracks as "I'm Going Down", "Be Happy", "Not Gon' Cry", the gut wrenching: "No More Drama", the song we ALL tore the dance floors up to: "Family Affair", and she also took us into the now and re-invented the classic "My Life" and also included the recent smash: "Be Without You".

Mary has 4 brand new songs on here with: "King & Queen" (Featuring John Legend), "You Know", "Reflections (I Remember)" and "We Ride (I See The Future)". All 4 are good but "Reflections" and "We Ride" are standout tracks that are 100% raw Mary!!! 2 very good midtempo songs that you will just warm up to immedietly.

The bad: I have ALWAYS loved the song: "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" but, why did they have to remix it??? I do not like this remix at all! I wish they would have just remastered the original and put that one on here instead of this bland remix. PLUS Method Man is all edited - UGH! In my opinion, I feel there are just a few songs on here that could have been excluded to make room for a couple different songs that I am sure have made more of an impact of Mary fans.

I have and always will love Mary. She does not have a bad song. I just think people need to understand that this was never intended to be a greatest hits. We know when one does drop, it will be a box set!!! :)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2006
First let me state that whomever formulated this track-list must have little knowledge of MJB's long explosive 15 year career. They failed to add all of the obvious choices. The record company should've also known better than to package a MJB "Reflection" in just fifteen tracks. There's just too much material to fit on one CD.

Where is 'Love No Limit' from 'What's the 411?'

Where is 'I Can Love You', 'Seven Days', 'Missing You', & 'You Are Everything' from 'Share My World'?

Where is 'All That I Can Say', 'Deep Inside', & 'Your Child' from 'Mary'?

Where is 'PMS' & 'Rainy Dayz' from 'No More Drama'?

Where is 'Ooh' & 'Love @ First Sight' From 'Love & Life'?

That is a lot of essential Mary cuts that were excluded, many of which were bonafide hits and will be missed by those who knew them. I could have done without 'Be Without You' & 'No One Will Do', both of which never sat in the vault long enough for us to miss them. They were both unnecessary inclusions seeing as how they were both released on 'The Breakthrough' less than a year ago.

I also hate when they remix tracks on greatest hits packages. I could have done without the 'You're All I Need' remix. Whitney did the same thing for her greatest hits CD and it suffered because of it.

Bottom line: This is not a definitive collection. Nowhere near it. They really dropped the ball on this one. The new cuts are alright, but I could have done without all the padding and they could have added more essentials.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2006
The long awaited and highly anticipated greatest hits collections has finally arrived. The one but very important criticism I have is why is the North American version 3 tracks short!! It's missing the key singles like the duet with George Michael "As" as well as the one with U2 and the coveted MJB Da MVP. I urge all fans to petition Geffen to release Mary's cds with their full tracklistings. After all, did she not gain international status from support here at home!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2006
When I first heard about this CD coming out I thought I was going to get remastered versions of the hits from her early albums, to replace to poor sounding quality of the original albums. When I picked the album up today I was extremely disappointed. There's only 15 tracks (should have been a double CD for all the hits she has), and there's only 8 or 9 hits from Mary's albums. The other songs include 4 new tracks, a remix she did with Method Man on his first CD, 911 with Wyclef that was on his album a few years back, and then 8 or 9 of her own actual hits. I agree with the other reviews, I feel like I got ripped off and they'll release the "real" greatest hits album in the next couple of years. Save your money, unless you're a die hard fan and just want the couple of new songs.

When will record companies learn how to release a hits collection? Hits collections should include all of an artists' big hits (or as many as they can fit on 2 discs), and the songs should be the versions that were released as singles (except for bleeping out words). I've bought multiple hits albums from artists looking for the version of a song that I really liked, rather than the crappy album version that couldn't be released as a single because it was mediocre so it had to be totally reworked. But you almost always end up with the album versions, or crappy remixes or live versions instead of the song as it was released to the radio/video. Get your crap together guys, and give the fans what they want. And if you want to throw on a fan favorite remix or live track, put the single version on as well instead of replacing the good version with a sub par track.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2006
Nowhere near a greatest hits collection, Reflections is quite a letdown only because of what it is lacking. Besides skipping 2 entire albums' singles, only 1 track from her debut is included??? NO-- You Remind Me, Reminisce, You Bring Me Joy, Love Is All We Need, I Can Love You, Everything, All That I Can Say, Deep Inside, Your Child, Rainy Dayz, Love @ 1st Sight, Ooh!, Enough Cryin, Take Me As I Am- which were all substantial hits and highlights of her long career.

That said the tracks included do showcase some of her best work and biggest hits. (Real Love, You're All I Need To Get By, Not Gon Cry, Family Affair, & Be Without You being her biggest hits on multiple charts) It is just all too brief, especially with the cd ending at 15 tracks?

The four new tracks are all good. Reflections (I Remember) & You Know are both 4 star tracks! 911 & You're All I Need are the first time included on a Mary album. The My Life '06 is VERY similar to original, just has some extra layers of music. (I prefer the original)

Overall, I would suggest this only to a diehard Mary fan who has to have the 4 new tracks (& 2 tracks not before on mary albums) or to someone who wants a SHORT sample of her biggest hits. Otherwise go buy 1994's My Life- her masterpiece!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Mary J. Blige has been one of the most consistently solid artists in R & B music. Almost all of her albums have been commercial and critical successes. Despite just turning 36 on January 11th, Blige has already been in the music business for 15 years. After such a lengthy time, her record label decided to release a best-of CD of her work.

99% of all greatest hits album have the same problem....no matter how large they are, they will never please everyone. Die hard fans will feel like album tracks that weren't big hits were ignored if only the artist's biggest hits are gathered together, while casual fans won't enjoy it if the companies decide to add some of the more obscure titles. So they always wind up being a very subjective affair, and this one is no different. A lot of Mary's most popular songs are included, such as Be Happy, Real Love, and Be Without You. But a lot of her Top 10 hits did not make the cut, such as You Remind Me and Sweet Thing. One of the biggest reasons a lot of her bigger hits are missing are because there are a handful of new tracks on the album. And while the new tracks are solid, they certainly don't stack up with her best work (which is what this CD is supposed to contain). Also, there are some questionable best-of tracks on here as well, such as 911, and a remix of I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By, which pales in comparison to the far superior original track.

So, overall, this is an enjoyable album that is a good listen, which is a testament to Blige's talents. Hardcore fans will probably be disappointed with the selection of tracks, but for people who are just getting into her, this is an ok place to start.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2006
This is horrible! There are so many songs missing...this is truly a lost attempt at making what could have been a wonderful greatest hits album. Awful! Where on earth is "You Remind Me," the song that made her famous? And where are "Sweet Thing," "Love No Limit" and "Reminisce," from her seminal CD "What's the 411?" Where is "You Bring Me Joy" from "My Life"? Where are "Everything," "Seven Days" and "I Can Love You" from "Share My World"? There are no hits here from "Mary"...no "Deep Inside," "All That I Can Say" and "Your Child." "Rainy Dayz" and "He Think I Don't Know" are MIA from "No More Drama," as are "Love @ 1st Sight," "Ooh," "Not Tonight," "You Don't Have To Worry," "Give Me You"...and...worst of all...they included "As," her duet with George Michael, "One," her duet with U2, and "MJB da MVP" on the European edition of this album. WHAT IS UP????? These horrid record companies need to stop ripping us off once and for all. Shame shame shame.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
First, something should be cleared up. Reflections (A Retrosepctive) isn't a greatest hits. It's more of a sampling of Mary J. Blige and some of her best vocal showings. If this is indeed a greatest hits, you'll find that many worthy songs are left out, such as "Take Me As I Am" or "Rainy Dayz" or "I Could Love You Better".

What makes this a bit of a let down and weak is that there isn't a good spread of songs from her entire career. It has four new songs, "We Ride (I See the Future)" truly being the gem and the best. It's very much in the same production and vibe as "Be Without You". It's kind of interesting that 'No One Will Do', which is a great track, made it on as opposed to many other of her songs. More variety in the songs, and different points of her career, would have really made this release a bit more strong. Instead of feeling like a showcase of her big career and big hits, it just feels like a mini-sampler that doesn't fully do her or her career justice.

Besides that, the vocals are of course great. I think "We Ride" is one of her best songs; big vocals, rather epic, great instrumentals and a potential hit. "You Know" is an interesting song, it stands out from the other new songs like "Reflections". Duet wise, the "911" duet with Wyclef is great and makes the "King and Queen" duet with John Legend just seem a bit flat and dull. The Razor Shapr mix of "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By" is worth listening to as well.

In all, this is just what it says it is, a retrospective. Nice for your Mary J. Blige collection or if you haven't really heard many of her songs and are curious of what she has to offer. Check it out.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2006
Looking for hard-to-find remixes? Interested in songs included on soundtracks previously unavailable on a Mary album? Trying to hear those slightly altered video versions of Mary's singles? Expecting to find previously unreleased songs, b-sides, live recordings, or other obscure tracks? Those things will not be found here.

REFLECTIONS (A retrospective) consists of 15 tracks, comprised of 4 new songs, 1 new remix, 2 collaborations, 1 soundtrack recording, and 7 previously released songs from 4 of her 7 albums (released 1992-2005) of original studio recordings. Booklet includes several photos and track information, but does not provide release information/date or chart info; there is no discography, song lyrics, or essay.

"My Life `06" (track 13) is a remixed version of 1994's "My Life"; horns and drums are added, as is a new verse and vamp at the end (about how Mary's "gotta breakthrough"). The version of "You're All I Need..." (track 15) is Wu-Tang mastermind RZA's remix, the version heard in the video (not the original Puff Daddy remix with the Biggie sample heard on the radio); the track included here is the censored radio edit.

01. Reflections (I Remember) [2006, new song]
02. We Ride (I See the Future) [2006, new song]
03. You Know [2006, new song]
04. King & Queen [2006, new song] with John Legend
05. No More Drama [2001] edit
06. Family Affair [2001] album version
07. Real Love [1992] album version
08. No One Will Do [2005] album version
09. Be Without You [2005] album version
10. I'm Goin' Down [1994] album version
11. 911 [2000] with Wyclef Jean
12. Not Gon' Cry (from "Waiting to Exhale") [1995] album version
13. My Life '06 [1994] remix by Kendu Isaacs
14. Be Happy [1994] album version
15. I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By [1995] (Razor Sharp Mix - censored radio edit) with Method Man

At whom is this compilation targeted? It can't be for long-time Mary fans, because we already have her previous albums and thus already have seven of these tracks in our collections. It can't be for new Mary fans, because four of the songs are from two of her last three albums. This can't be for marginal Mary fans looking for a sampler, because these are not her best-known or most-loved recordings (and nothing near a comprehensive compilation). But the over-played "Family Affair" is included.

I am most baffled by the inclusion of "No One Will Do"; it was not a single and it was on her previous album, 2005's "The Breakthrough", so I don't understand what could be the rationale for including it here.

There are so many songs deserving to be on this disc (which at only 15 songs, has less songs than either "No More Drama" or "The Breakthrough"; total running time: 65:16). Where is "Reminisce" or "Love No Limit"? How about "No One Else" or "Mary's Joint"? Or "I Can Love You" (feat. Lil' Kim) or "Everything"? Or "Deep Inside" or "The Love I Never Had"? Or "Not Today" (feat. Eve) or "It's a Wrap"? Not even the recent singles "Enough Cryin'" or "Take Me As I Am" are included. And not one of her famous remixes is included - not even "The What" remix of "I'm Goin' Down" or the So So Def remix of "Everything".

If one has the "Waiting to Exhale" soundtrack and 1997's "Share My World", this will be at least the third disc with "Not Gon' Cry" on it. It would have been better to include "You Don't Have to Worry" (from "Who's the Man"), "Every Day It Rains" (from "The Show" soundtrack), "A Dream" (from "Money Talks" soundtrack), or "Beautiful" (from "How Stella Got Her Groove Back").

While collaborations with Wyclef and Method Man are included, the absence of Ghostface Killah's "All That I Got Is You", Jay-Z's "Can't Knock the Hustle", George Michael's "As", and Twalib Kweli's "I Try" are glaring omissions.

Oh, and did I mention that the UK version includes 3 additional tracks?

There are many, many more songs that should be on a Mary J. Blige compilation; sadly, this is not that compilation. Many MJB fans will buy this disc for the four new songs, but many more will just download or rip the songs - and I can't blame them. Asking someone to pay their hard-earned money for recordings they already have in their collection is not fair. No wonder record companies report declining CD sales.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2007
This CD unlike the Breakthrough, is a good, but not a outstanding Cd. Many of the songs from What's the the 411, My Life, and Share my World that hardcore fans like myself fell in love with. There are some quality duets Mary does with John legend and Wycleff Jean. Her 2006 version of my life is appealing, but you should get the other CDs to get the true essence of MJB.
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