Single Review: Mary J. Blige “Deep Inside”

Deep Inside
Album: Mary
Year: 1999

Mary J.Blige’s fame has caused to become wary of people in the carping “Deep Inside.”

The single opens with the sample of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” which Mary then “oohs” over.

In the first verse, she sings that she’s been famous for many years now. It’s difficult for her to find a honest man to date. If she becomes friends with someone, she wonders if they like her for who she is or for her celebrity. (“The problem is/For many years/I’ve lived my life/Publicly/So it’s for me to find a man I trust/I really trust/And everytime I find someone I like/Gotta worry about/If it’s really me/That they see/And I thought you were the one, yeah.”)

In the chorus, she says she’s human like everyone else and hopes people would see her as Mary, the person. (“Deep inside I wish that they could see/That I’m just plain ol’ Mary, Mary…”)

She’s lonely and has a small circle of friends. Even with those few, she’s unsettled and questions their friendship. Are they are using her for her wealth? She’s made a pact with herself to respect those who respect her back. She doesn’t want people to get the wrong impression of her or even criticize her for her opinions. (“I don’t have a lot of friends/And sometimes I have to wonder/Is it cash they see when they look at me/’Cause they’re lookin’ for a ride that’s free/So I made the choice to be/Good to those who are good to me/Don’t judge me, don’t think I’m bitter/For the evil does allow me to see I’m just Mary.”)

In the pre-chorus, she says she’s can only be herself. (“I’m just Mary, just Mary, just Mary/I’m just Mary, just Mary, just Mary/I, I, ohhhh.”)

After the chorus is said numerous times, a part of the first verse is sung again to end the single (“The problem is…so it’s hard for me to find a man.”)

The single seems like it was written by her public relations team. It has the important key message (she’s human and like everybody else) needed to sell her image. But it’s just that: an image. While confessional singles have been refreshing in the past, “Deep Inside” is self-serving and calculating. Celebrities complaining about their fame is unbecoming. Mary J. Blige, despite some excellent work, is no exception to the rule.

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