Unlike many so-called tortured singer-songwriters, Mary J Blige actually has a life story that gives added resonance to her heartfelt, angry songs. A former drug addict who suffered physical abuse, she virtually created the genre of hip hop soul with her bestselling 1992 album What's The 411? Nine years on, however, Blige's songwriting has become disappointingly repetitive and her latest album is conspicuously lacking in inspiration. A host of fashionable names from the RandB scene have been drafted in, including Dr Dre, Missy Elliott and The Neptunes. But no amount of strings and samples can disguise the blandness of the lyrics and the gaping hole where the passion should be. Compared to her earlier achievements, No More Drama can only be described as a severe disappointment.
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