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The Breakthrough

385 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 20, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Breakthrough features songs produced by Brian Michael Cox, Rodney Jerkins, the Black Eyed Peas' Will I Am, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Dre & Vidal, Johnta Austin, Raphael Saadiq and others. The first single is the smash hit 'Da MVP'. Geffen. 2005.

Nobody knows heartache like Mary J. knows heartache. But as she releases her seventh disc, perhaps more important is that nobody understands better how unquenchable our thirst to hear what it sounds like can be. The Breakthrough, contrary to run-up rumors, is no retrospective or greatest-hits package. Rather than reheat, Blige and producers Dr. Dre, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and tasked themselves with stirring a river of hurt into some of the highest-caliber hip-hop/soul to hit the airwaves since she burned up the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack with "Not Gon' Cry." Cameos alone could sell this disc: Brook, Jay-Z, Raphael Saadiq, and Bono step up. But it's the trademark ragged-edged soul of its star that shines brightest throughout the 16 tracks. "A love that tears you down ain't really love," a laid-bare Blige reminds us on "Ain't Really Love," after dedicating "Good Woman Down" to "my troubled sisters." Somewhere in between, she leaves absolutely no room for doubt that she just can't be without her baby ("Be Without You"). It's an exhilarating, love-affirming moment on a CD jammed full of them (check out "Can't Get Enough," with its echoes of a pleading Curtis Mayfield). Blige, never far from the thoughts of the lovelorn, didn't need a breakthrough, but anybody with an ear for artful confession will be glad she's given us The Breakthrough anyway. --Tammy La Gorce

1. No One Will Do
2. Enough Cryin
3. About You
4. Be Without You
5. Gonna Breakthrough
6. Good Woman Down
7. Take Me As I Am
8. Baggage
9. Can't Hide From Luv
10. MJB Da MVP
11. Can't Get Enough
12. Ain't Really Love
13. I Found My Everything
14. Father In You
15. Alone
16. One

Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 20, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000BNTM32
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (385 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,789 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Reginald D. Garrard VINE VOICE on December 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
If there is justice in the universe, Mary J's latest release will definitely introduce her to a much larger audience and bring her a truckload of awards, along with multi-platinum sales. There is, no doubt, that the singer poured all of her considerable vocal and songwriting talents into this most personally revealing and musically satisfying album. Co-writing no less than eleven of the listed sixteen songs (there is a "hidden" bonus cut included at the end of track 16), Blige is a spokesperson for women, as well as a "therapist" that can give good counsel to men as they deal the topsy-turvy relations game.

On an album wherein all the cuts are outstanding, my favorites include "Enough Cryin'", a triumph of writing, Blige's trademark forceful vocal performance, brilliant orchestral arrangement, and extraordinary background accompaniment; "About You," featuring and legendary Nina Simone, is another brilliantly orchestrated track; the poetic "Be Without You"; "Good Woman," a thought-provoking and toe-tapping message to the young sistahs; and the double-threat of "Take Me as I Am" and "Baggage".

"MJB Da MVP" chronicles Blige's triumphant fourteen-year (and counting) career, expressing the singer's highs and lows, as well as her appreciation of her fans.

There are not enough superlatives that can be heaped upon "Ain't Really Love." This is the kind of song that Aretha could've done in her prime and, obviously, the "Queen's" scepter has been passed to Mary.

The gospel-influenced "I Found My Everything," co-written by featured vocalist Raphael Saadig, has a Prince-thing about it, musically and lyrically.

"Father in You" is sheer perfection in more ways than one as a tribute to fathers and strong men.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 23, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Breakthrough is possibly the best album of Mary J. Blige's great career. Ms. Blige's singing has gained a sense of maturity and she inhabits the songs with feel of someone who has experienced life's ups and downs and is comfortable singing about both. Several of the songs are directed at her new husband, producer Kendu Isaacs. The best is "Baggage" where she apologizes for bringing all her emotional drama to the relationship and "Father In You" is superb classic soul where Ms. Blige thanks her husband for the ways he has made up for her absent father. "Good Woman Down" she plays the role of mentor to young woman who went through the troubles she went through. "I Found My Everything" is a straight-up anthem with an exuberant vocal. There are virtually no missteps outside of her cover of U2's "One" which drags on a bit too long.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brent Faulkner, Jr. VINE VOICE on December 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Mary J. Blige's THE BREAKTHROUGH is clearly one of Mary's strongest albums EVER. Mary J. Blige becomes extremely personal on this album, much more so than her 2003 effort LOVE & LIFE. While LOVE & LIFE was a good album (though some critics called it one of her weaker efforts), THE BREAKTHROUGH easily trumps LOVE in almost everyway.

First, Mary J. Blige had some slight pitch issues on LOVE & LIFE. Here on THE BREAKTHROUGH, Blige's voice is much better in tune while still keeping the same raw emotion that she has within her powerhouse vocals. In fact, in a growth that has stemmed since Blige's debut album and the emotion she showed on the exceptional "I'm Going Down" (from her second I believe), Blige's vocals have grown more and more emotional with a greater coarseness that provides for a great texture on her recordings. In fact, Blige is one of the few artists that continue to build herself better and better with each substantial recording. Now, with THE BREAKTHROUGH, she has reached the pinnacle.

What is particularly fantastic about THE BREAKTHROUGH is the fact that Blige isn't afraid to admit she has her faults or that she hasn't lived a perfect life. Most of her songs have blatant titles such as "Baggage" or "Take Me as I Am". Even more sweet or real (however you perceive it) is her love songs and "poetry" that is directed towards her husband music producer Kendu, where she has such songs as the exceptional "Can't Get Enough", "I Found My Everything", and arguably, "Father in You". In another exceptional cut, "Good Woman Down", Blige tells the story about her father being abusive to her mother very powerfully. It is themes such as these that make THE BREAKTHROUGH ever more credible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Olukayode Balogun on April 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
When it comes to putting down naked emotion to music, (which after all, is what soul music is supposed to be all about), there can be no doubt that Mary J. is the best we have right now. There's also something to be said for the fact that she's managed to attain and sustain her success without resorting to stripping down to her bikini.

I have immense respect for the woman on so many levels. I think it's clear that over the years, she has grown not only as a recording artiste but also as a person. She's obviously happier than she's ever been and this comes through on this latest work. All in all, (especially when compared to what else is available out there), it's a decent body of work. I'm not going to bother with individual songs as I think other reviwers on here have said all that needs to be said. What I will say is that after the relative dullness of her last few CDs, Mary J. Blige can rest assured that her crown is safely back in place. The queen of hip-hop/soul/r&b is back!

However, it's my opinion that reviewers who suggest that this is her best work to date, or that it can be compared to "What's The 411?" or "My Life" just couldn't possibly have been there at the time. Those two albums in particular, were events. The songs, the videos, the Puff Daddy club remixes, the drama... it was a phenomenon the likes of which we are never likely to see again. Mary J. Blige may well go on to produce a CD that will outsell her first two albums - maybe she already has done - but I sincerely doubt that she (or any other artiste for that matter), will be able to replicate the impact that she had when she burst onto the scene in the mid-nineties. My friends and I still feel something today when we play her early stuff and we're talking well over 10 years later.
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just heard a MJB's One without U2 Bono? Is it possible?
its on the breakthrough album by mary j blige.
Oct 27, 2009 by Amazon Customer |  See all 3 posts
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