|The Album Cover Art : A Mary Christmas|
For a diva, a Christmas album not only gives the golden opportunity to stretch her vocals by coming up with her very own renditions of familiar carols but also lets her collect a handsome pay-check, if of course she has a successful seasonal set like Mariah Carey’s that sells like hot cakes every Christmas.
Mary J Blige has joined the club this year. But you won’t find the Rn’B diva trying to outsing her peers with drowsy jingles like “O Holy Night”. Nor has she delivered a hip-hop flavoured Christmas disc, which by the way, is a frightening thought. Instead, “A Mary Christmas”, conveniently titled, offers subdued, persuasive and respectful interpretations of classic holiday tunes. The maestro David Foster who Blige collaborates with on this set and for the first time in her long career helps provide the album with a timeless, traditional touch. (“My Favourite Things”, “This Christmas” and “Mary Did You Know” are poignant, classy and thankfully not over-done)
Blige shows off her French on the elegant “Petit Papa Noel” while channeling Ella Fitzgerald on “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, a jubilant update of a beloved tune. More Jazzy moments follow with “The Christmas Song” and “When You Wish Upon A Star”, an odd pairing of Barbra Streisand and Blige, which surprisingly, results in a Disney-sweet moment that will certainly please fans of both. Angelic voice of Marc Anthony almost outshines Blige’s understated singing on ”Noche De Paz (Silent Night). Expect punchy vocals from both Blige and her duet partner, Jessie J, which makes the dullish orchestration of “Do You Hear What I hear” somewhat bearable.
Blige’s gritty vocals, her usual street cred and swagger are put away on this project. As a matter of fact, she sounds so polished and regal, showcasing a definitely different side. This easy-listening set will ensure commercial success for years to come for its simplicity and timeless feel while effectively finding her new Adult Contemporary fan base.
"When You Wish Upon A Star" ~ Mary J Blige & Barbra Streisand
"Do You Hear What I Hear" ~ Mary J Blige & Jessie J
"Noche De Paz (Silent Night) ~ Mary J Blige & Marc Anthony