Tuesday, August 25, 2009

31. Mary J. Blige "No More Drama" (2001)

So you don't miss it, Mary J. Blige underscores the comparison between her troubled life and a soap opera by sampling "Nadia's Theme," the opening piano music to The Young and the Restless. It borders on being heavy-handed, but I think it works. It's a beautiful theme, and it instantly provides more drama to a song whose lyrics seek to be delivered from it.

Mary J. Blige, a diva through and through, stands apart from her peers by having it both ways: vocally, she dazzles as much as the next Mariah or Whitney, but she has the artistic credibility that approaches (as near to as anyone can) the monumental talent of Aretha Franklin or Tina Turner.

The emotional impact of "No More Drama" can be best experienced by witnessing Blige's electrifying 2002 Grammy performance (below). It's more like a Grammy exorcism. As the audience watches in awe, Blige's frantic intensity builds to its goosebump-inducing release: "I am 'bout to lose my mind, lord help me, help me say."

Mary, you need no help with that.

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