The MF Life
|The MF Life|
|Studio album by Melanie Fiona|
|Released||March 20, 2012|
|Label||SRC, Universal Republic|
|Producer||No I.D., Salaam Remi, Andrea Martin, Rico Love, Earl Hood, Eric Goudy II, Jack Splash, Los Da Mystro, Jay Fenix, Infinity, Antario "Tario" Holmes, Espionage, Sham & Motesart, T-Pain, Supa Dups, Soundz|
|Melanie Fiona chronology|
|Singles from The MF Life|
The MF Life is the second studio album of Canadian recording artist Melanie Fiona, released March 20, 2012, on SRC Records and Universal Republic Records. Production was handled by several record producers, including No I.D., Salaam Remi, Andrea Martin, Rico Love, Los Da Mystro and T-Pain, among others. Its music expands on the classicist R&B influences of Fiona's 2009 debut album, The Bridge, and its songs deal with themes of aggrievement, longing, and romantic triumph.
The album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, selling 34,000 copies in its first week. It produced three singles, including the R&B hit "4 AM". Upon its release, The MF Life received generally positive reviews from music critics, who commended its production, songwriting and Fiona's vocals. Fiona promoted it with a national tour throughout March 2012. As of May 2012, the album has sold 69,500 copies in the United States.
Background and recording
After the shutdown of Universal Motown Records, Fiona was transferred to Universal Republic Records. In an interview with Gary Graff, she said that the delay in the album's release allowed her to reach out to rappers J.Cole and Nas to contribute to the songs "This Time" and "Running", respectively.
Recording sessions for the album took place at Glenwood Place Studios in Burbank, 4220 Feng Shui Studios in Los Angeles, Circle House Studios, The Hit Factory Criteria, and Body Music in Miami, Chevy Shack and Losta Studios in Atlanta, Summit Sound in New York, and The Armoury Vault in Toronto, Canada.
In a press release, Fiona explained the album's title, "the ‘MF’ in the album title represents my initials, but it also gets at the many facets of myself as an artist and a young woman. It can be viewed as the ‘Mighty Fine Life’ in times of triumph and success, but also the ‘Mother-F-ing Life’ when I’m dealing with frustration or misfortune. I celebrate both. I feel it would be dishonest if everything was all about glitz and glamour. It’s about the balance of life, the yin and the yang, the good and the bad, all of that."
Expanding on the classicist R&B influences of Fiona's debut, The MF Life also incorporates elements of soul and rock music. Songs such as "L.O.V.E." and "Watch Me Work" are styled in soul; the guitar-laden "Break Down These Walls" and "Wrong Side of a Love Song" have rock elements. "4 AM" draws on the hazy synth of Drake's "Marvins Room" and the emotional aesthetic of Alicia Keys' "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart".
Release and promotion
The album's lead single, "Gone and Never Coming Back", peaked at number 37 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The second single, "4 AM", was sent to urban radio stations on August 30, 2011. It peaked at number eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Originally scheduled for a 2011 release, The MF Life was released on March 20, 2012, on SRC and Universal Republic. Fiona promoted the album with a national tour throughout March 2012. It included dates at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and the Austin Urban Music Festival in Texas.
The album debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200, selling 34,000 copies in its first week. It sold 16,200 copies in its second week on the chart. By May 2012, the album had sold 69,500 copies in the United States.
|The Boston Globe||favorable|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The New York Times||favorable|
|The Washington Post||favorable|
Upon its release, The MF Life received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on nine reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Allmusic editor Andy Kellman found Fiona "remarkably versatile when it comes to modes of expression" and stated, "The more beneficial mix of songwriting and production collaborators ... helps make The MF Life superior to the debut in every way." Entertainment Weekly gave The MF Life an A– rating and stated, "Slow-burning pathos remain her strongest suit." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times complimented its musical backdrops as "sturdy" and stated, "Though this album lacks some of the intensity of her debut ... it still showcases Ms. Fiona ably." Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe viewed the album as "a more fully realized and personal set of songs than her debut", writing that "she charts the vicissitudes of love with searing conviction and style ... she ratchets up the intensity, as she co-writes nearly all of the songs and often delivers them with stunning clarity and power." Rolling Stone writer Maura Johnston called her "multidimensional" and stated, "Big-name guests ... accentuate Fiona's strengths instead of overshadowing them, a testament to her supreme confidence."
In a mixed review, Kevin Ritchie of Now felt that the album is "closer to a traditional multi-producer record featuring a checklist of styles ... that showcase her technical precision as a singer but reluctance to colour outside the lines." Los Angeles Times writer Ernest Hardy viewed that Fiona's "lapses into hard, hyper-emotive singing" make the content's emotion seem ingenuine and stated, "The songs are a bit stronger this time around, but few offer much in the way of great lyrics or real insight". Alex Macpherson of Fact called the album "occasionally transcendent" and commented that it "aims more to be a well-rounded work than a visionary one, and in that respect it succeeds admirably." Although he found the album "full of cads and heartbreaks", Gary Graff of Billboard viewed it as an improvement over Fiona's debut and commented that she "tears into [the songs] with righteous relish".
|1.||"This Time" (featuring J. Cole)||Ernest Wilson, Johnta Austin, Steve Wyreman, Kevin Randolph, Jermaine Cole||No I.D.||3:48|
|2.||"4 AM"||Richard Butler, Melanie Hallim, Earl Hood, Eric Goudy II||Rico Love, Earl Hood, Eric Goudy II||4:50|
|3.||"Break Down These Walls"||E. WIlson, J. Austin, S. Wyreman, K. Randolph||No I.D.||4:09|
|4.||"I Been That Girl"||Aubrey Drake Graham, Tyler Williams||T-Minus||2:53|
|5.||"Wrong Side of a Love Song"||M. Hallim, M. Kahane, G. Soule||Jack Splash||4:28|
|6.||"Running" (featuring Nas)||Melanie Hallim, Nasir Jones, Salaam Remi Gibbs||Salaam Remi||5:29|
|7.||"Change the Record" (featuring B.o.B)||C. McKinney, Andrea Martin, M. Hallim, Bobby Simmons||Los Da Mystro||4:05|
|8.||"Gone and Never Coming Back"||A. Martin, R. Littlejohn Jr.||Jay Fenix & Andrea Martin||3:45|
|9.||"Bones"||M. Kahane, P. Faith, A. Merrit||Jack Splash||3:53|
|10.||"Watch Me Work"||J. Suecof, A. Holmes, L. Fields, M. Hallim, T. Reyes, N. Myricks||Infinity, Antario "Tario" Holmes||3:25|
|11.||"Can’t Say I Never Loved You"||A. Martin, E. Lind, A. Gjorklund||Espionage||3:47|
|12.||"L.O.V.E." (duet with John Legend)||E. Wilson, John Stephens, M. Hallim, S. Wyreman, K. Randolph||No I.D.||3:55|
|13.||"6 AM" (featuring T-Pain)||Faheem Najm, J. Gordon, M. Gordon, D. Cook||T-Pain||4:13|
|Deluxe edition bonus track|
|14.||"Rock Paper Scissors"||Sham & Motesart|
|15.||"Can't Do This No More"||Jack Splash|
|16.||"What Am I to Do"||Jack Splash|
|17.||"Like I Love You"||Dwayne "Supa Dups" Chin-Quee|
|iTunes bonus track|
|14.||"Gone (La Dada Di)" (featuring Snoop Dogg)||Soundz||3:36|
Credits for The MF Life adapted from liner notes.
|Swiss Albums Chart||23|
|UK R&B Albums Chart||32|
|US Billboard 200||7|
|US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||1|
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- Johnston, Maura (April 13, 2012). "The MF Life". Rolling Stone (Jann S. Wenner). Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- "The MF Life Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
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