Mary J. Blige releases her 11th studio album and first Christmas album in 2013 named ‘A Mary Christmas’
*Upon its release, the album received mostly positive reviews amongst critics. Commercially, it opened at number 23 on the US Billboard 200 and at number 5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with 12,000 copies. It marked Blige’s 15th top ten title on the latter chart, on parr with Snoop Dogg for second-most top ten entries in the Nielsen SoundScan era.
The album features collaborations with Barbra Streisand, Chris Botti, Jessie J, The Clark Sisters and Marc Anthony. All the songs on the album are covers of classics.
Track by track review:
- Little Drummer Boy – Very elegant. The song still has a very classic feel to it even with its modern twist. Starts the album to a good start. 8/10
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – A nice soulful cover. Nothing overally special but its nice. 6/10
- My Favorite Things – Sticking to her soulful roots, this is one of the best covers on the record. Covered very well. 8/10
- This Christmas – This is the kind of track I’ve been waiting for. I’m all for soulful Mary but a Christmas album needs upbeat jollyness and this is that. How can you not smile and get into the Christmas spirit when you hear this? 9/10
- The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – One of those covers that doesn’t do much for you. Its nice, but not adding anything special to the record. 5/10
- Rudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeer – Anyone else heard this song really fast and jazzy? Hmm. Maybe a bit too fast for me. Its too much to take in at one go but I commend her on taking a risk. 5/10
- When You Wish Upon A Star – Not really a Christmas song but it works and fits for the record. Beautiful vocals from both Mary J. and Barbra Streisand. 7/10
- Mary, Did You Know – A beautiful ballad sung with great passion. I believe every word she is singing. 8/10
- Do You Hear What I Hear? – So pretty. It reminds me of late Christmas Eve. The cover is great and I love Jessie J on the track but when they sing together, I’m not sure if there voices mix well together? 6/10
- Petit Papa Noël – The song is boring but I didn’t know Mary could sing in French which is what I’m impressed by. 4/10
- The First Noel – An improvement on the previous track but it doesn’t have that special twinkle to the song. The Clark Sisters kind of make the song a little too much as well as the choir in the background. If it was all stripped back it would have been stunning. Its a little too gospel for me. 5/10
- Noche De Paz (Silent Night) – Here we see the album come to an end and its ended with a song with Marc Anthony. A little random right? I would have preferred it if it was all in English and not with the half Spanish. 5/10
Overall album rating: 5/10
All in all, this is an OK Christmas album. I question whether Mary has ran out of ideas for new music. Did we need a Christmas album from Mary J Blige? No. But if thats what she wanted to do then good for her. The album is very hit and miss. I can only see myself going back and listening to about 3 of the tracks that will be entered in my yearly Christmas playlist. Its no ‘Merry Christmas’ by Mariah Carey which is considered a modern day classic but its fine for what it is.