Saturday, 12 September 2009

Mary J Blige 'Just Fine'

Chart Peak: 16


Funny little career Mary J has had, at least in this country. Always a star to fans of the genre, and a long span of hits but a rather patchy set of peaks (just three Top 10s, once you deduct the collaborations with George Michael, U2 etc.) Still, easily a big enough name for people to form a view on her, and I have to say I've never really "got" it.
One big problem with this particular track is that there's more than one way to interpret the phrase "Just Fine": it could be an exultation or a mumble. This is obviously aiming to be the former, but sounds a little too near the other. As much of her career in the last decade or so has proved, it's difficult to express satisfaction in pop without sounding, well, self-satisfied. She makes a decent effort at a vocal performance, I suppose, but there isn't really a lot of song to work with here, despite the fact that four people apparently contributed to writing it (none of them members of Steely Dan) and the limited musical idea greatly overstays its welcome at four minutes. They don't even sound like they're trying on the middle eight.

Also appearing on: Now 50, 51, 52
Available on: Growing Pains

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