The Breakthrough


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Tom Neven
Bob Smithouser

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

An overcomer herself, Blige encourages “sistas” with low self-esteem to persevere on “Good Woman Down” (“Don’t be afraid/You can break through”). She lavishes love and praise on her man (“No One Will Do,” “Can’t Get Enough”) and calls her new husband the tender father figure she never had (“Father in You”). With God’s help, the singer determines to move on from a rough past (the autobiographical “Take Me As I Am”) and thanks a guy for accepting her despite her emotional “Baggage.” Even troubled relationships are considered worth fighting for on “Be Without You” and several duets: “One” (with U2’s Bono), “About You” (with and “Alone” (with Dave Young). A hidden track tells fans to be grateful for life, forge ahead and reject naysayers. “MJB Da MVP” mentions that a peer’s death inspired Blige to change her ways, however …

Objectionable Content

It uses her own album titles as a means of marking time, which sounds like a vain commercial for far less redemptive CDs than this one. Club-hopping is the cure for a friend’s woes on “Gonna Breakthrough” (“We gonna tear it up all night … pop bottles get it crunk/ That’s what we came to do”). “Can’t Hide From Luv,” “Ain’t Really Love” and “Enough Cryin’” mention physical intimacy in inappropriate contexts. A few profanities pop up.

Summary Advisory

Since breaking into the biz in 1990, this Grammy-winner hasn’t given families much to sing about. Even so, she’s showing signs of maturity, having received a new lease on life from her 2003 marriage to Martin Kendu Isaacs. Hold out for more lyrical progress.

Tom Neven
Bob Smithouser
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