Love & Life (Mary J. Blige album)

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Love & Life
Studio album by Mary J. Blige
Released August 25, 2003
Recorded November 2002–2003
Genre
Length 67:36
Label Geffen
Producer
Mary J. Blige chronology
No More Drama
(2001)
Love & Life
(2003)
The Breakthrough
(2005)
Singles from Love & Life
  1. "Love @ 1st Sight"
    Released: June 24, 2003
  2. "Ooh!"
    Released: September 15, 2003
  3. "Not Today"
    Released: March 3, 2004
  4. "Whenever I Say Your Name"
    Released: August 6, 2004
  5. "It's A Wrap"
    Released: October 29, 2004
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Blender 3/5 stars[2]
eMusic 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B−[4]
Q 2/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[6]
Slant 3.5/5 stars[7]
Vibe 3.5/5 stars[8]
Yahoo! Music UK 8/10[9]

Love & Life is the sixth studio album by American R&B singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige. It marked the first collaboration with former one-time producer Sean "Diddy" Combs since he produced her debut, What's the 411? (1992), and her second album, My Life (1994). The album was released by Geffen Records on August 25, 2003, in the United Kingdom, and on August 26 in the United States.[10]

Background[edit]

Blige heavily collaborated with her one-time producer Sean Combs for this set. Due to the history between them on What's the 411? and My Life and Blige having just come off of a successful fifth album No More Drama, expectations were high for the reunion effort.

Love & Life's lead-off single, the Diddy-produced "Love @ 1st Sight", which featured Method Man, barely cracked the top ten on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It altogether missing the top twenty on the Hot 100 (although peaking inside the UK top twenty). The following singles, "Ooh!", "Not Today" featuring Eve, "Whenever I Say Your Name"featuring Sting on the international re-release, and "It's a Wrap" fared worse.

Blige and Combs reportedly struggled and clashed during the making of this album, and again parted ways upon the completion of it.

Critical reception[edit]

Love & Life received generally positive and mixed reviews from music critics.[5] It holds a score of 72 out of 100 at Metacritic.[5] Allmusic gave it 4 stars and said the album "beamed with joy".[1] Rolling Stone gave it three stars, saying "You may not always love Blige's music, but you will feel her"".[6] Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, remarked that the album's highlight is the catchy production of a rejuvenated P. Diddy and that Love & Life peaks in the middle, although he felt that Method Man's lyrics on "Love @ 1st Sight" are the best on an album that favors Blige's usual themes.[11] Fans largely panned the disc, citing a lack of consistency and noticeable ploys to recapture the early Blige/Combs glory.

Commercial performance[edit]

The album became Blige's first album in six years to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 285,298 copies in first week.[12] It became Blige's second number-one album on the US Billboard 200 album chart. It also opened at the top spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart respectively, making this Blige's sixth album to top the latter chart.

It became Blige's fourth consecutive UK top ten album. The album also debuted in the top ten on the charts in countries such as Canada, Switzerland; with similar charting in France and Germany, where it charted in top twenty.

The album was eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipping one million copies, and more than two million copies worldwide[13] by the RIAA.[14] Although the album was certified platinum, it became Blige's lowest-selling to date.

Awards and accolades[edit]

Despite the mixed/lukewarm reception of the album, Love & Life and its two singles received three Grammy Award nominations at the 46th Grammy Awards. Love & Life received a nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album, losing to Dangerously In Love by Beyoncé. The album's second single, "Ooh!" received a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, also losing to "Dangerously In Love 2" by Beyoncé. The album's international fourth single, the Sting-featured "Whenever I Say Your Name" won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.[15]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Love & Life Intro" (featuring Diddy and Jay-Z) Mary J. Blige, Shawn Carter, Dimitri Christo, Sean "Diddy" Combs, L. McCann Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 2:48
2. "Don't Go"   Blige, B. Miller, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, Combs, J. Williams, J. Mercer Sean "Diddy" Combs & Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen 4:28
3. "When We"   Blige, Mechalie Jamison, A. Creamer, Mario Winans, Combs, Marvin Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 3:36
4. "Not Today" (featuring Eve) Blige, Miller, Andre Young, R. Feemster, Mike Elizondo, Eve Jeffers Dr. Dre 4:13
5. "Finally Made It (Interlude)"   Blige, Angelettie, Combs, R. Holland Sean "Diddy" Combs & Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen 1:39
6. "Ooh!"   Blige, Jamison, Christo, Combs, Hamilton Bohannon Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 4:07
7. "Let Me Be the 1" (featuring 50 Cent) Blige, Jamison, Curtis Jackson, M. Crosby, C. Sanchez, Combs, S. Barnes, George Clinton, T. Lindsey Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 4:40
8. "Love @ 1st Sight" (featuring Method Man) Blige, Jamison, Winans, Combs, Clifford Smith, S. Jordan, Kamaal Fareed, Ali Jones-Muhammed, Malik Taylor Sean "Diddy" Combs, Mario Winans, & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen 5:18
9. "Willing & Waiting"   Blige, Jamison, Creamer, D. Lewis, W. Lewis Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 4:19
10. "Free (Interlude)"   Blige, Winans Sean "Diddy" Combs & Mario Winans for The Hitmen 2:04
11. "Friends"   Blige, S. Foote, M. Hasan, T. Brock, R. Taylor, B. White Sean "Diddy" Combs & Mario Winans for The Hitmen 4:02
12. "Press On"   Blige, K. Gist, C. Cofield, D. Crofts, J. Seals Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 4:17
13. "Feel Like Makin' Love"   Blige, Jamison, S. Jordan, Combs Sean "Diddy" Combs & Steven "Stevie J" Jordan for The Hitmen 4:42
14. "It's A Wrap"   Blige, Winans, Combs Sean "Diddy" Combs & Mario Winans for The Hitmen 4:20
15. "Message in Our Music (Interlude)"   Blige, Robert Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown, Robert Mickens, Claydes Smith, A. Taylor, Dennis Thomas, Rick Westfield Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 2:14
16. "All My Love"   Blige, Miller, D. Christo, Combs, D. Addrisi, R. Addrisi Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 4:16
17. "Special Part of Me"   Blige, Combs, Winans Sean "Diddy" Combs & Mario Winans for The Hitmen 4:33
18. "Ultimate Relationship (A.M.)"   D. Lawrence, S. White Sean "Diddy" Combs for The Hitmen 5:05
Total length:
1:10:41

Bonus US Limited Edition DVD:

  • A look at making the album.

Charts[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 62
Canadian Albums Chart[16] 6
German Albums Chart[16] 21
French Albums Chart 18
Italian Albums Chart 62
Swiss Albums Chart 3
UK Albums Chart[17] 8
US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1
US Billboard 200 1

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
The Neptunes Present... Clones by Various artists
Billboard 200 number-one album
September 7, 2003
Succeeded by
Metamorphosis by Hilary Duff

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Allmusic review
  2. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  3. ^ Scholtes, Peter S. (November 16, 2010). "Mary J. Blige, Love & Life". eMusic. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  5. ^ a b c Mary J. Blige: Love & Life (2003): Reviews Metacritic. Accessed 2007-11-08.
  6. ^ a b Rolling Stone review
  7. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (September 3, 2003). "Mary J. Blige: Love & Life". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Vibe review
  9. ^ Yahoo! Music UK review at the Wayback Machine (archived October 13, 2004)
  10. ^ Pride, Felicia (September 12, 2003). "Mary J. Blige: Love & Life". PopMatters. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (2003-09-23). "The Commoner Queen". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  12. ^ "Previous Album Sales Chart". HITS Daily Double. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 
  13. ^ http://fanofmusic.free.fr/BestSellers.php?Act=MaryJBlige[dead link]
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ a b [3]
  17. ^ [4]