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Strength of a Woman Image
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74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 13th full-length studio release for the R&B singer-songwriter features guest appearances from DJ Khaled, Missy Elliott, Kaytranada, Quavo, and Kanye West.
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Top Track

Thick of It
Love ain't just black and white Ain't that simple It gets hard to tell whose wrong or right When Its dark with us I swear I barely see the... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Apr 27, 2017
    80
    Strength of a Woman, the new album from Mary J. Blige, moves like a forest fire: ruthless, wide-ranging, blunt. The heat emanating off it is palpable.
  2. Apr 27, 2017
    80
    A few duds like the repetitive "Glow Up" and the sappy duet with Prince Charlez "Smile" aside, Strength Of A Woman is Blige's finest offering in over a decade.
  3. May 1, 2017
    77
    Strength of a Woman finds its power in going back to basics. As a whole experience, it luxuriates within the magisterial hip-hop-soul queendom she formulated in the ’90s and the attendant themes that trace back to wronged-woman blues.
  4. Apr 28, 2017
    70
    Running at 16 full-length tracks, Strength of A Woman can seem overindulgent. Songs that are enjoyable in isolation, or as a smaller subset, become either repetitive or forgettable in the context of the whole.
  5. May 9, 2017
    70
    A few songs do depart from expressing pain and the documentation of recovery. Brightest of all is "Find the Love," pure early-'80s boogie throwback. Just beneath that is the title track, a theatrical empowerment anthem that would likely close just about any other album. Instead, extra punctuation is provided by "Hello Father," another gem.
  6. Apr 27, 2017
    60
    If only she had skipped the sub-Beyoncé jam, the Get Lucky-style one and the Rihanna-ish trap track featuring meme makers DJ Khaled, Migos and Missy Elliott. Beyond those fairly obvious pop bids, the empowerment ballads are pleasingly understated.
  7. 60
    After the refreshing change furnished by 2014’s The London Sessions, things are pretty much back to normal for Mary J Blige on Strength Of A Woman, which finds the Queen Of R&B Reproach once again embattled by amorous treachery.

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Aug 9, 2017
    10
    Mary J. Blige holds her own, with her third stellar album in a row behind her European music culture driven, The London Sessions and herMary J. Blige holds her own, with her third stellar album in a row behind her European music culture driven, The London Sessions and her full-length album for, Think Like A Man Too, motion picture soundtrack. Mary still experiences pain on this album, as she has on every album she's ever released throughout her 25 year musical career. But on, Strength Of A Woman, the pain is at an uphill again, and as we know the main cause of this hurt has been influenced by her man, but in Mary's reality lately, her husband Kendu Issacs, or her now ex-husband. Where on Mary's second album, My Life, her engagement to her lover at the time Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey of popular r&b group Jodeci influenced her painful open diary love letter. This go-round Issacs has untwisted the knot of marriage with his personal infidelities towards Mary during their 13 year relationship as a married couple, openly cheating on Mary for the last five years of their union, and is the main objective of hell breaking loose on this album. And yes, Mary has a whole lot to sing about but it isn't always pain, it's reliving one's self from the pain and finding the courage to keep going, as she details on "Survivor." While Mary continues to go the marriage counseling route on tunes like, "Love Yourself (Featuring Kanye West)," "U+Me (Love Lesson)" and "Indestructible." Mary also flips it and reverses it on dance cuts like, "Glow Up (featuring Quavo, DJ Khaled and Missy Elliott)" and "Telling The Truth (Featuring Kaytranada)" while having fun, being free and uplifting herself at the same time. But, Mary can also go into her 1995, "Not Gon' Cry" territory, on male cut-throat female bashing anthems like, "Thick Of It" and "Set Me Free." While "Set Me Free" is the highlight of the album, it's also the cut where Mary sings the blues, as only Mary can. Mary takes it a step further by venturing into Destiny's Child, TLC and En Vogue girl-group female anthems on, "It's Me," while still in marriage counseling mode during a confession about the negatives and positives in which brought on divorce. While on the following half on the LP, Mary finds closure and develops strength for herself on tunes like, "Thank You" and "Strength Of A Woman." You can tell that Mary has ripped the many pages of Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Tony Robbins, Joel Osteen and Juanita Bynum's many books and publications for her own personal spiritual guidance. And she follows-up that guidance with asking God for his continued forgiveness on, "Hello Father" the closing song. Expand
  2. Apr 30, 2017
    9
    Mary J. Blige is back and her recent battle that ended in heartbreak heavily influences this album, though in the end, the takeaway message isMary J. Blige is back and her recent battle that ended in heartbreak heavily influences this album, though in the end, the takeaway message is more uplifting than is a scorned response to misbehaving man. A strong exception is found on 'Set Me Free,' a damning gem that blazes the bad man in scathing flames. The album as a whole has a cohesive feel to it that makes it easy to listen to it from beginning to end, though a stand out track is the mid-tempo thumper 'It's Me.' Overall, Strength of a Woman is a great listening experience. Expand