Mary J. Blige Stronger with Each Tear

Mary J. Blige Stronger with Each Tear
Mary, we love the fact that you're happy ― no more drama ― and that your personal issues seem to be a thing of the past. Trouble is, your pain was what fuelled your passion. It's the reason why What's the 411 was a classic, and why subsequent albums were usually measured by whether your life was in shambles or not. After stumbling out of the gate with ill-advised Auto-Tune number "The One" (featuring Drake), your concessions to the bland reality of today's R&B scene sees you deliver uninspired and listless tracks like "We Got Hood Love" (featuring Trey Songz) and "Good Love" (featuring T.I.). You pick things up a bit with capable numbers like "In the Morning" and "Color," but this outing is nowhere in the vicinity of 2007's Growing Pains or even 2005's The Breakthrough. We love you, Mary, but pandering to today's mainstream R&B crowd isn't where you need to be. And what's the point of trying to stay relevant if you have nothing to say? (Universal)