Mary J. Blige | A Mary Christmas (Matriarch, Verve)

A-Mary-ChristmasYa know what? I do think she wants me to have a very Merry Christmas!

Here’s what I thought of Mary J. Blige’s album, A Mary Christmas. Remember, all scores are out of a possible 10 points.

“Little Drummer Boy” – The first third and the last third of this song were pretty straightforward, but the middle was all Blige. The whole track has some attitude, but this is Mary J. Blige — I expected that. Score: 8

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” – Ms. Blige injects this holiday classic with her own brand of R&B soul realness. I can see so many drag queens doing this number this Christmas. Get your dollars ready! Score: 9

“My Favorite Things” – I have never really understood why this is a Christmas song. It is one of my favorite Broadway songs, but hey, I guess it works. Blige’s voice on this track is like butter. I loved the entire track from start to finish, including the circus feel of the arrangement. Score: 9

“This Christmas” – Another stunning vocal performance. I love when Blige lets it all hang out, and on this track she lets her voice soar. And ya know what? I do think she wants me to have a very Merry Christmas! Thanks Blige! Score: 9

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire)” – Respectful. That is how Blige treated this track. She didn’t do too much but did give this standard a fresh feel. Score: 7

“Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” – Attention all drag queens: you will want to do this number. Blige jazzes up a classic. She scats! Loved every aspect of this track. Blige made this track fun again. Score: 10

“When You Wish Upon a Star” – Amazeballs. Barbara Streisand makes an appearance on this track, and it gave me chills. For real, chills ran up and down my back as I listened to Blige and Streisand blend their voices. Not to oversell it, but I also caught myself tearing up by the end. One of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Score: 10

“Mary, Did You Know” – A beautiful love letter to the Mother Mary. Blige’s voice is rich and heartfelt on the entire track. I was drifting away on her lovely tone. Score: 9

“Do You Hear What I Hear” – Blige invites Jessie J to harmonize on this track, and they both knocked it out of the park. I loved the modern twist they put on the arrangement. This track is very enjoyable. Score: 8

“Petit Papa Noël” – Blige knows French! Who knew? I have no idea what she is saying seeing how I am mono linguistic, but damn her voice sounds gorgeous! Score: 9

“The First Noel” – This holiday classic gets the royal R&B treatment. Lots of vocal runs and soul has been injected into this track to make it fresh. Did it work? In spots, but overall, not my favorite version of this song. Score: 6

“Noche De Paz (Silent Night)” – Another bilingual track. The funny thing is I caught myself singing – in English – along with Blige, and Marc Anthony took care of the vocals in Spanish, and we all harmonize fantastically! I should give Blige a call. Score: 8

Average Track Score: 8.5. An excellent holiday album. Would I recommend this to my friends? YES! But only the ones on my good list. | Jim Ryan @draglover






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