Love @ 1st Sight
Album: Love and Life
P.Diddy and Mary J. Blige reunited for her new album, “Love and Life.” They both had worked together on Blige’s first two essential albums, “My Life” and “What’s the 411?” However, they split after 1994, with Blige wanting to move in a different direction. Now, she said it was due to how she lived. Blige told MTV.com that “I wasn’t delivering properly. I wasn’t taking care of my health, so how can he roll his dice on me?”
According to Blige the response was so good at the concerts when she performed her earlier songs with P.Diddy onstage that they decided to work together again. From a marketing point of view, it’s a chance to win back old fans who may not like her current musical direction. Even Method Man, who she did a duet with on their hit “I’ll Be There/You’re All I Need” makes an appearance on the single.
However, for all the nostalgia “Love @ 1st Sight” lacks the bite and emotional power that made earlier songs like “Real Love” modern soul classics. The single less like a song and more like a publicity stunt with Blige proclaiming “I’m still the Queen of Hip-Hop even though I’ve gone mainstream to the point that my music is a pale shadow of itself!! Really, I am!”
In the first verse, the bass overwhelms the single and nearly drowns out Blige. Blige seems to be confused on her delivery. While musically, it’s supposed to be a fast-paced jeep thumper, Blige takes her time, expressing some heartache underneath her vocals. Vocally, it seems she slowed it down. Meanwhile, the first verse has already run away already and she’s left catching up by singing out of range. She sings about seeing him for the first time and falling in love immediately: “lookin’ at you from a distance/Gettin’ all of my attention…You walked away and I missed you/visions of wanting to kiss you/how could this be if I don’t really know you?”
Awkward phrasing and too many background singers ruin the chorus. The background singers do most of the singing while Blige is left to mostly chime in with “could this be love at first sight…could this be love”
In the second verse, she sounds like a shallow teenager just figuring what qualities she likes in a boy by singing such lyrics as “you had on the latest fashion/it was a big attraction” It’s as though it’s the first time she approaches a guy ever as she later sings “I never done anything like this/but you I just could not resist/I swallowed my pride and stepped to your side.” In the bridge, she gathers her courage and asks him to call her sometime.
Method Man’s rap is typical. His only clever simile in his rap is “somebody call the coroner, quick, Mary is killin ’em.” However, the most of it is references to Blige’s other songs that reads like a greatest hits tracklisting (“tell ’em what’s the 411 and who came runnin’/When Clef dialed 911 from shots comin’..She only wanna be happy and I ain’t mad at her..And if you take a look at my life, no more drama”) Other than a brief imiation as a radio dj, Method Man’s rap is a jumble of gibberish and (“feel me like your favorite love song/Cuz my computer love is the thetruth.com”).
Instead of trying to recreate past success, Blige should be building on her current hit singles and trying to incorporate her old sound into her new music. However, it seems for Blige going mainstream meant losing a lot of the qualities that made her critically acclaimed. “Love @ 1st Sight” is Mary J. Blige dumbing herself down for some easy sales. Her longtime fans and Blige deserve better.