Strength of a Woman (album)

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Strength of a Woman
Strength of a Woman.jpg
Studio album by Mary J. Blige
Released April 28, 2017 (2017-04-28)[1]
Genre R&B[2]
Length 57:42
Label Capitol
Producer
Mary J. Blige chronology
The London Sessions
(2014)The London Sessions2014
Strength of a Woman
(2017)
Singles from Strength of a Woman
  1. "Thick of It"
    Released: October 7, 2016 (2016-10-07)
  2. "U + Me (Love Lesson)"
    Released: February 17, 2017 (2017-02-17)
  3. "Love Yourself"
    Released: March 30, 2017 (2017-03-30)
  4. "Strength of a Woman"
    Released: June 9, 2017 (2017-06-09)
  5. "Indestructible"
    Released: September 11, 2017 (2017-09-11)

Strength of a Woman is the thirteenth studio album by American singer Mary J. Blige. It was released on April 28, 2017 by Capitol Records.[1] The album features guest appearances from Kanye West, Quavo, DJ Khaled, Missy Elliott, Prince Charlez, and Kaytranada.

Singles[edit]

"Thick of It" was released as the lead single on October 7, 2016. The song topped the US Adult R&B Songs chart for 16 consecutive weeks. "U + Me (Love Lesson)" was released as the second single on February 17, 2017. The song reached number one on the Adult R&B Songs chart dated May 6, 2017, the week prior to the album's release. "Love Yourself", featuring Kanye West, was released as the third single on March 30, 2017.[3]

Commercial performance[edit]

Strength of a Woman debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 on the issue dated ending May 20, 2017, with 78,000 album-equivalent units, selling 72,000 standard copies in its first week.[4] It became Blige's highest-charting album since 2009's Stronger with Each Tear, and her tenth top five entry on the chart. The album marked a significant spike of sales for the singer, whose previous release The London Sessions (2014) had opened at number nine, with first week sales of 55,000 copies.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic74/100[5]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[6]
Clash7/10[7]
Exclaim!8/10[8]
The Guardian3/5 stars[9]
The Independent3/5 stars[10]
The New York Timespositive[11]
Pitchfork7.7/10[12]

Strength of a Woman received generally positive reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on seven reviews.[5] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times gave the album a positive review, stating that, "the album moves like a forest fire: ruthless, wide-ranging, and blunt."[11] Matt Bauer of Exclaim! praised the lyrics, and called it Blige's best work in over a decade, but criticizing songs such as "Glow Up", and "Smile".[8] In a positive review, Julianne Shepherd of Pitchfork considered the album a relief from Blige's previous album, The London Sessions, along with Blige sticking to what makes her unique.[12] In a positive review, Andy Kellman of AllMusic gave the album 3.5 stars, calling some of the songs clichéd, however, praising the anthems on the album.[6] Kate Hutchinson of The Guardian gave a mixed review of the album, criticizing the song "Glow Up", calling it too similar to other artists such as Rihanna, and Beyoncé. Despite these complaints, she praised the anthems included on the album.[9] In another mixed review, Andy Gill of The Independent found the album using a generic R&B theme, however, stating that some songs included on the album are able to do it well, such as "Set Me Free".[10]

Track listing[edit]

Strength of a Woman – Standard edition[1][13]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Love Yourself" (featuring Kanye West)
DJ Camper4:58
2."Thick of It"DJ Camper4:01
3."Set Me Free"
  • Blige
  • Camper Jr.
  • Sullivan
  • Hinshaw
DJ Camper3:29
4."It's Me"B.A.M.4:30
5."Glow Up" (featuring Quavo, DJ Khaled and Missy Elliott)DJ Camper4:05
6."U + Me (Love Lesson)"
  • Blige
  • Hodge
  • Hinshaw
  • Brown
B.A.M.4:57
7."Indestructible"
  • Blige
  • Hodge
  • Davion Farris
  • Eric Dawkins
  • Elese Teyonie Russell
B.A.M.4:43
8."Thank You"
  • Blige
  • Camper Jr.
  • Sullivan
  • DJ Camper
4:05
9."Survivor"
  • Hodge
  • Tyler
  • Farris
  • Dave Hoddell
  • Spike Hoddell
  • B.A.M.
  • William Tyler (co.)
4:44
10."Find the Love"
3:23
11."Smile" (featuring Prince Charlez)
3:42
12."Telling the Truth" (featuring Kaytranada)
  • Blige
  • Louis Celestin
  • Ashton Simmonds
  • Matthew Tavares
  • Chester Hansen
  • Alexander Sowinski
3:57
13."Strength of a Woman"
  • Blige
  • Hodge
  • Benjamin Wright
  • Farris
  • Dawkins
3:49
14."Hello Father"
Hit-Boy3:19

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 100
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[16] 112
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[17] 90
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[18] 22
French Albums (SNEP)[19] 177
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[20] 63
UK Albums (OCC)[21] 54
UK R&B Albums (OCC)[22] 3
US Billboard 200[23] 3
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[24] 2

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Strength of a Woman adapted from AllMusic.[25]

  • Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – conductor, harp arrangement, soloist, string arrangements
  • Derrick Baker – composition
  • Derrick "Bigg D" Baker – guitar
  • Vincent Berry – composition
  • Alison Bjorkedal – harp
  • Mary J. Blige – composition, executive production, vocals
  • David D. Brown – composition, production, backing vocals
  • Gerry Brown – string engineering
  • Marshall Bryant – engineering
  • Caroline Buckman – viola
  • Richard Butler – composition
  • Daniel Caesar – backing vocals
  • Darhyl "DJ" Camper Jr. – composition, drums, fender rhodes, organ, piano, production
  • Paul Cartwright – violin
  • Louis Celestin – composition
  • Louis Kevin Celestin – drums, percussion, synthesizer bass
  • Maddox Chhim – assistance
  • Thomas Cullison – assistance
  • Eric Dawkins – composition
  • Ayanna Depas – assistance
  • DJ Khaled – vocals
  • Aaron Draper – percussion
  • Missy Elliott – composition, vocals
  • Davion Farris – composition, engineering
  • Theron Feemster – composition, production
  • Eddie "A&R Eddie" Fourcell – A&R
  • Vanessa Freebairn-Smith – cello
  • Michael Frenke – engineering
  • Yesseh Furaha-Ali – alto sax
  • John Goodison – composition
  • Eric Gorfain – violin
  • Cameron Graham – engineering
  • Chester Hansen – composition, synthesizer
  • Jaymz Hardy-Martin III – engineering, mixing, vocal mixing
  • Charles Hinshaw – composition
  • Dave Hoddell – composition
  • Spike Hoddell – composition
  • Brandon Hodge – composition
  • Brandon "B.A.M." Hodge – composition, production
  • Chauncey Hollis – composition
  • Jean-Marie Horvat – mixing
  • Elizabeth Isik – A&R
  • Peter Jacobson – cello
  • Hotae Alexander Jang – string engineering
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • Cortni Elisa Jordan – composition
  • Leah Katz – viola
  • Kaytranada – vocals
  • David Kim – assistance, mixing assistance
  • Steven "Q-Beatz" Kubie – programming
  • Marisa Kuney – violin
  • Dave Kutch – mastering
  • Cainon Lamb – composition
  • Songa Lee – violin
  • Dennis Leupold – photography
  • Timothy Loo – cello
  • Quavious Marshall – composition
  • Lucia Micarelli – violin
  • David Nakaji – assistance
  • Dwayne Nesmith – composition
  • Jon Nettlesbey – assistance
  • Tremaine Neverson – composition
  • Prince Charlez – vocals
  • Quavo – vocals
  • Dexter Randall – assistance
  • Frank Rein – trombone
  • Priscilla Renea – composition
  • Teddy Riley – production
  • Elese Teyonie Russell – composition
  • Stuart Schenk – mixing
  • Ashton Simmonds – composition
  • Mary Kathleen Sloan – violin
  • Alexander Sowinski – clapping, composition, piano
  • Dexter Story – contractor
  • Jazmine Sullivan – composition, backing vocals
  • Jenny Takamatsu – violin
  • Matthew Tavares – composition, engineering
  • Gavin Taylor – art direction, design
  • Thomas Lea – viola
  • Sergio "Sergical" Tsai – engineering
  • William Tyler – composition
  • Ina Veli – violin
  • Phil Wainman – composition
  • Kanye West – composition, vocals
  • Eric Whatley – bass
  • Chris Woods – violin
  • Kevin Woods – flugelhorn, trumpet
  • Benjamin Wright – composition, horn arrangements, string arrangements

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Strength of a Woman". iTunes. Apple (DE). Retrieved March 31, 2017. 
  2. ^ "WCW: Mary J. Bilge Returns With "The Strength of a Woman"". Cabrera, Esther. April 26, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Love Yourself". Google Play Music. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (May 8, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.' No. 1 for Third Week on Billboard 200, Gorillaz Bow at No. 2". Billboard. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Strength of a Woman by Mary J. Blige Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. April 28, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  6. ^ a b Kellman, Andy (May 9, 2017). "Strength of a Woman – Mary J. Blige – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  7. ^ Kalia, Ammar (April 28, 2017). "Mary J Blige - Strength Of A Woman". Clash. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  8. ^ a b Bauer, Matt (April 27, 2017). "Mary J. Blige Strength Of A Woman". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Hutchinson, Kate (April 27, 2017). "Mary J Blige: Strength of a Woman review – R&B star conjures some of her old magic". The Guardian. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  10. ^ a b Gill, Andy (May 3, 2017). "Album reviews: Kasabian, Blondie, Mary J Blige, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds". The Independent. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  11. ^ a b Caramanica, Jon (April 26, 2017). "For Mary J. Blige, Pain Leads to Beauty". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  12. ^ a b Shepherd, Julianne (May 1, 2017). "Mary J. Blige: Strength of a Woman Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  13. ^ Stutz, Colin (March 29, 2017). "Mary J. Blige's 'Strength of a Woman' Track List Features Kanye West, Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled & More". Billboard. Retrieved March 31, 2017. 
  14. ^ Mary J Blige – Strength of a Woman (CD, Album) at Discogs
  15. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #419". auspOp. May 6, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mary J Blige – Strength of a Woman" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mary J Blige – Strength of a Woman" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  18. ^ "Billboard Canadian Albums". FYIMusicNews. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums – SNEP (Week 18, 2017)". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Mary J Blige – Strength of a Woman". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  21. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  22. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  23. ^ "Mary J. Blige Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  24. ^ "Mary J. Blige Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  25. ^ "Strength of a Woman – Mary J. Blige – Credits". AllMusic. April 28, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2018.