Share My World

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Share My World
Studio album by Mary J. Blige
Released April 22, 1997
Recorded The Hit Factory
(New York City)
Battery Studios
Chicago Trax
The Chicago Recording Company (Chicago, Illinois)
Flyte Time Studios
(Edina, Minnesota)
The Record Plant
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre R&B, hip hop soul, neo soul
Length 65.15
Label MCA
Producer Mary J. Blige (exec.), Steve Stoute (also exec.) Babyface, Rodney Jerkins, Poke & Tone, James Mtume, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, R. Kelly, George Pearson, Bryce Wilson, Malik Pendleton
Mary J. Blige chronology
My Life
(1994)
Share My World
(1997)
Mary
(1999)
Singles from Share My World
  1. "Love Is All We Need"
    Released: February 18, 1997
  2. "I Can Love You"
    Released: June 6, 1997 (U.S. only)
  3. "Everything"
    Released: August 4, 1997
  4. "Missing You"
    Released: October 2, 1997 (UK only)
  5. "Seven Days"
    Released: March 20, 1998

Share My World is the third studio album by American R&B singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige, released by MCA on April 22, 1997. The album became Blige’s first to open at number one on the US Billboard 200 album chart, it also became her first top-ten album in the United Kingdom, peaking at number eight on the UK Albums Chart. Moreover, it is her first album where she serves an executive producer, alongside Steve Stoute, who also sharing executive producer credits on the album. With guest appearances by hip hop and R&B stars such as Lil' Kim, Nas, The LOX, George Benson, Roy Ayers and R. Kelly, the album was released to generally positive to mixed reviews from most music critics, and earned Blige numerous accolades and nominations, including a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Album in 1998. It is certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for excess of three million copies sold in the US.[1]

Background[edit]

Share My World marked several personal and professional changes in Blige’s life and career. Following the departure of label head Andre Harrell the year before, Blige defected from Uptown Records in favor of its MCA parent. Meanwhile, she severed professional ties with long-time producer, manager and mentor Sean “Puffy” Combs shortly before the production of Share My World began. His absence was filled with a bevy of high profile producers, such as: Rodney Jerkins, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Babyface, Bryce Wilson and R. Kelly. The end result produced an album that was less entrenched in the Hip hop soul of her first two albums, and replaced with a style that was more aligned with Contemporary R&B.

During the making and run of 1994's My Life, Blige had reportedly experienced clinical depression, while also battling drug and alcohol addiction, and enduring an often turbulent relationship with K-Ci Hailey — all of which heavily influenced the dark mood of that album. In 1996, however, Blige reportedly made a concerted effort to clean up her life and subsequently found herself in more positive frame of mind while recording Share My World, which influenced the albums noticeably lighter mood.

Release and reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

For the Billboard issue dated May 10, 1997, Share My World debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with sales of 240,000 copies, marking Blige's first official number-one album on the Billboard 200 chart. [2] The album had ended the four-week stint of Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G., which was released posthumously after his death. Moreover, the album debuted at number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, marking Blige's third consecutive number-one album on the latter chart. Share My World has sold over 3 million copies in the United States alone, receiving a 3x Platinum certification on May 19, 1999.

In addition to debuting number one in the United States, the album also debuted in the top ten in the United Kingdom, peaking at number-eight on the UK Albums Chart, thus giving Blige her first top-ten album in that country. And on the Canadian Albums Chart, where the album reached number-four. It also reached number thirty-seven on the German Albums Chart.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]
Entertainment Weekly B+[5]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide (mixed)[7]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[8]

Alex Henderson of Allmusic gave the album a full four out of five stars, stating that "Her strongest and most confident effort up to that point, Share had much more character, personality, and honesty than most of the assembly line fare dominating urban radio in 1997. For all their slickness, emotive cuts like "Get to Know You Better," "Love Is All We Need," and "Keep Your Head" left no doubt that Blige was indeed a singer of depth and substance. Although high tech, the production of everyone from R. Kelly (with whom she duets on the inviting "It's On") and Babyface to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis doesn't come across as forced or robotic, but, in fact, is impressively organic."[9] Ernest Hardy of Rolling Stone commended Blige's transition from sound to singing, gave the album three-out-of-five stars, commenting that "On Share My World even Blige's harshest critics will have to concede that she's moved beyond sound to real singing. Listen to "Seven Days," "Missing You" and the already-classic "Not Gon' Cry" (also on the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack), and you hear Blige's signature ache married to newfound technique. There's shading, depth and control in her vocals now."[10] However, in the 2004 edition of The Rolling Stone Album Guide, the album was viewed in an ambivalent light, stating that "[i]t displays Blige's hit-song savvy but fewer memorable performances."[11] Music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a favorable review, commenting that "Blige is a diva for her own time. As befits her hip hop ethos, she's never soft if often vulnerable, and as befits her hip hop aesthetic, she plays her natural vocal cadences for melodic signature and sometimes hook. She redefines the New York accent for the '90s. And she's taken two straight follow-ups to the next level."[12] And awarded the album an (A-) rating.[13] Jonathan Bernstein of Entertainment Weekly was also favorable of the album, and gave it a B+ rating, but was critical of Blige's songwriting, stating that "...[i]t comes off as meandering and half finished."[14] But went on the praise the album, regarding that "In another era, when songcraft was a consideration and singers had discernible identities, Mary J. Blige might have attained the mid-level status of a Thelma [Houston]. But right now, having made an uneven album packed with career-peak performances, she is the only example of a hip-hop soul practitioner attempting to make a record that's more than a product placement opportunity for Lexus and Cristal. For that, Blige deserves her crown."[15] Steve Jones of USA Today was also pleased with the album, and he awarded three-and-a-half out of four stars, commenting that "The songs run the usual gamut of love themes, but it's Blige's powerful, emotional deliveries and street sensibility that separate her from the competition."[16]

Accolades and nominations[edit]

Throughout late 1997, and onto early 1998 Share My World became a critical and commercial success. On July 1, 1997, nearly three months after the album's release, Share My World was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of one million copies in the US.[17] Five months later, on November 17, 1997, the album received a 2x Platinum certification by the RIAA, for two million copies sold in the US alone.[18] On January 26, 1998, the album won the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Album at the 25th annual ceremony.[19] The following month, it was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 40th Grammy Awards, losing to Baduizm by Erykah Badu.[20] Blige also received additional nominations such as an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Female Artist, and two Soul Train Music Award nominations for Best R&B/Soul Single, Female (for the single "Everything") and a nomination for Best R&B/Soul Album, Female, losing both to Erykah Badu in both categories. In addition, Blige won a second award for the album at the Soul Train Lady of Soul awards, where she picked up an award for Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year (solo).[21]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro"   Poke & Tone, Rich Nice Poke & Tone, Rich Nice 1:21
2. "I Can Love You" (featuring Lil' Kim) Mary J. Blige, LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, Rodney Jerkins, Kimberly Jones, Carlos Brody, Mashiem Myrick Rodney Jerkins 4:54
3. "Love Is All We Need" (featuring Nas) Blige, James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Nasir Jones, Rick James Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis 4:16
4. "Round and Round"   Blige, Poke, DJ Premier, Shawn Carter Poke & Tone, George “Golden Fingers” Pearson (co) 4:27
5. "Share My World" (Interlude) Poke & Tone, Rich Nice Poke & Tone, Rich Nice 0:32
6. "Share My World"   Blige, R. Jerkins Rodney Jerkins 4:49
7. "Seven Days" (featuring George Benson) Malik Pendleton Malik Pendleton 5:09
8. "It’s On" (duet with R. Kelly) R. Kelly R. Kelly 4:44
9. "Thank You Lord" (Interlude) Kelly Price, R. Jerkins Rodney Jerkins 0:45
10. "Missing You"   Babyface Babyface 4:19
11. "Everything"   J. Harris III, T. Lewis, Hachidai Nakamura, Rokusuke Ei, James Brown, Linda D. Creed, Thomas R. Bell, John Starks, Fred Wesley Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis 4:55
12. "Keep Your Head"   Blige, L. Blige-DaCosta Poke & Tone, George “Golden Fingers” Pearson 3:51
13. "Can’t Get You Off My Mind" (featuring The LOX) Blige, R. Jerkins, Jason Phillips, Sean Jacobs, David Styles Rodney Jerkins 4:45
14. "Get to Know You Better"   Bryce Wilson Bryce Wilson 4:34
15. "Searching" (featuring Roy Ayers) Blige, L. Blige-DaCosta, Xenos DaCosta, R. Jerkins, Fred Jerkins, Roy Ayers Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins 4:52
16. "Our Love"   Chuck Jackson, Marvin Yancy James Mtune 5:22
17. "Not Gon' Cry"   Babyface Babyface 4:54
UK Bonus Track
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
18. "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman"   Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Jerry Wexler James Mtume 2:57
Sample credits
  • "Everything" contains a sample of "You Are Everything" as performed by The Stylistics; "The Payback" as performed by James Brown; "Sukiyaki" as performed by A Taste of Honey.
  • "Get to Know You Better" contains a sample of "My Cherie Amour" as performed by Stevie Wonder.
  • "I Can Love You" contains a sample of "Queen Bitch" as performed by Lil' Kim.
  • "Love Is All We Need" contains a sample of "Moonchild" as performed by Rick James.
  • "Missing You" contains a sample of "I'm Not in Love" as performed by 10cc.
  • "Round and Round" contains a sample of "Go Back Home" as performed by Allen Toussaint.

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Share My World adapted from Allmusic.[22]

Musicians[edit]

Production[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 71
Canadian Albums Chart[23] 4
French Albums Chart 31
German Albums Chart[24] 37
Swiss Albums Chart 41
UK Albums Chart[25] 8
US Billboard 200 1
US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1

Chart precession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G.
Billboard 200 number-one album
May 10–16, 1997,
Succeeded by
Carrying Your Love With Me by George Strait

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Mary J. Blige's Share My World Tops Album Chart". MTV. Viacom International Inc. 1 May 1997. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 4, 1997). "Consumer Guide: Share My World". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2010-12-26.
  5. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  6. ^ Hardy, Ernest (April 25, 1997). "Mary J. Blige: Share My World : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  7. ^ Hoard, Christian. "The Rolling Stone Album Guide". Rolling Stone: 83. November 2, 2004.
  8. ^ USA Today review
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ [5]
  13. ^ [6]
  14. ^ [7]
  15. ^ [8]
  16. ^ [9]
  17. ^ [10]
  18. ^ [11]
  19. ^ [12]
  20. ^ [13]
  21. ^ [14]
  22. ^ Credits: Share My World. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
  23. ^ [15]
  24. ^ [16]
  25. ^ [17]

External links[edit]