“My Life” is a testimony of sorts, crediting “the man up above” with the ability to give us peace of mind when we’re feeling down. “Be Happy” seeks “a sign from the sweet Lord above” concerning a romance. Most songs reflect a spirit of love and devotion (“I’m the Only Woman,” “I Never Wanna Live Without You,” “You Gotta Believe”), and a desire for reconciliation (“I’m Goin’ Down,” “Mary’s Joint,” “Don’t Go”). “I Love You” demonstrates the principle of “tough love.”
The project opens with a phone conversation punctuated by profanity and racial slang. “Mary Jane” beckons a lover into the bedroom. Two other songs briefly allude to sexual activity.
Smooth vocals and (for the most part) solid lyrics make Mary J. one of R&B’s most promising artists. But she seems o-Blige-d to toss in a steamy tune or two, turning a positive disc into a mixed bag.