The Breakthrough

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Breakthrough (disambiguation).
The Breakthrough
Mary J Blige - The Breakthrough.png
Studio album by Mary J. Blige
Released December 20, 2005 (2005-12-20)
Recorded 2004–05
Genre
Length 72:59
Label Geffen
Producer
Mary J. Blige chronology
Love & Life
(2003)
The Breakthrough
(2005)
Growing Pains
(2007)
Singles from The Breakthrough
  1. "MJB da MVP"
    Released: April 18, 2005
  2. "Be Without You"
    Released: September 15, 2005
  3. "Enough Cryin'"
    Released: March 2, 2006
  4. "One"
    Released: April 3, 2006
  5. "Take Me as I Am"
    Released: August 17, 2006

The Breakthrough is the seventh studio album by American singer Mary J. Blige. It was released on December 20, 2005 by Geffen Records. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 729,000 copies sold in its first week, becoming the highest first-week sales of her career and the second highest first-week sales by a female R&B artist, behind Alicia Keys' As I Am (2007).

Upon its release, The Breakthrough received positive reviews from most music critics. The album was certified three-time platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling over seven million copies worldwide.

Singles[edit]

"Be Without You" was released as the album's lead single on September 15, 2005. It was produced by Bryan-Michael Cox, co-produced by Young Smoke. The song peaking at number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

"One" was released as the album's second single on April 3, 2006. The song features guest vocalist by U2, while the production was handled by Ron Fair, co-produced by Tal Herzberg. In the United Kingdom, the song gave Mary her biggest hit to date by peaking at number 2 on the Top 40.

"Enough Cryin'" was released as the album's third single on March 2, 2006. The song has peaked at number 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It fared particularly well on the R&B charts, hitting at number 2 on US Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song was initially going to be featuring by an American female rapper Foxy Brown, but then Mary has decided to re-record a verse with herself, because of Brown's sudden hearing loss. This would launched the Mary's rapping alter-ego, named "Brook Lynn", who also appeared on other tracks (e.g. the remix of Busta Rhymes's "Touch It").

"Take Me as I Am" was released as the album's fourth single on August 17, 2006. It was produced by Infinity and Ron Fair. The song has reached at number 3 on the US Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

Other charting songs[edit]

The song "MJB Da MVP" was released as a radio only single, prior to the release of "Be Without You". The song features the voice of American rapper 50 Cent, as part of the chorus. Due to strong airplay, the song charted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 75, before the first official single, "Be Without You" was released from "The Breakthrough". Yet another song, "Ain't Really Love", has reached at number 73 on US Billboards Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, although it did not released as a single.[1]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on both the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 729,000 copies, making it the fifth largest first-week sales for a female artist and the fourth largest debut of 2005. It also marked the largest first-week sales for a female R&B artist til back in November 2007, when Alicia Keys' album As I Am has sold 742,400 copies, a mere more than 13,400 copies in the United States.

The album has been certified three-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of more than 3,000,000 copies in the United States.[2] It has been proclaimed as her comeback album (after the disappointment of Love & Life). The album has been showing signs of longevity, remaining in the top five of the Billboard 200 for 11 consecutive weeks (including 2 weeks at number 1). In Australia, the album went gold on the ARIA charts.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B+[4]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[5]
The Independent 4/5 stars[6]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[7]
The New York Times favorable[8]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[9]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[10]
Spin 5/10[11]
The Village Voice mixed[12]

The Breakthrough received generally positive reviews from music critics.[13] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on 20 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[13] Allmusic editor Andy Kellman gave it four-and-a-half out of five stars and commented that "Beat for beat, the album features the best round of productions Blige has been handed since the mid-'90s".[3] Entertainment Weekly's David Browne noted a return of "drama to her music" and wrote that "its messy sprawl of conflicted emotions feels true to her fierce, prickly personality (not to mention life itself)".[4] Jon Pareles of The New York Times complimented its themes of "tribulations and true love" and stated "Blige brings together hip-hop realism and soul's higher aspirations, hip-hop's digitized crispness and soul's slow-building testimonies".[8] Rolling Stone writer Barry Walters noted its "particularly classy material" and commented that "what ultimately differentiates Blige's seventh studio album from previous discs is that its ballads truly matter".[9] Stylus Magazine's Thomas Inskeep viewed it as a "return to form" for Blige, dubbing it her "finest full-length since '99's Mary".[14]

Tom Breihan of Spin commented for "nearly all of its tracks sound-like odes to her new husband" and criticized its production, writing that "too often, Blige’s voice doesn’t get the space it needs to cut loose with emotion [...] Because Blige never quite connects with the awkwardly programmed drums and cluttered synthetic arrangements of would-be club jams like 'Can’t Hide From Luv' and 'Gonna Breakthrough,' the songs’ chin-up aphorisms ring false".[11] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani described the album as "the epitome of formulaic, giving you the feeling that you've heard this all before", and stated "it sports the kind of yucky, literal sentiment [...] that, however true it may be, should not be put to tape".[10] Jason King of The Village Voice viewed that the album "improves on 2003's Diddy-helmed misfire Love & Life but lacks the character of 1999's eclectic Mary", adding that "Mary's jones for hermetic, clinically slick production values doesn't complement her soul-baring aura".[12] Blender stated "Her ardent love songs ultimately come off not as love songs but standard ache-and-pain Mary tracks."[13] BBC Online's Matilda Egere-Cooper noted the album production's "ahigh quality", but viewed that it lacks the "attitude" of Blige's previous work.[15]

Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian expressed a mixed response to Blige "celebrating no more drama in her life", but complimented its "compellingly dark, percussive setting" and "the stunning power of [Blige's] voice", writing that "The lyrics may be wet, but she sings with cool conviction, not wasting a note".[5] Despite viewing many of its songs as overlong, Los Angeles Times writer Natalie Nichols commended its producers for "adeptly weaving beats and live instruments, vocals and rapping, melody and rhythm in configurations alternately stark and lush".[7] Mojo gave the album three out of five stars and commented that it "reveals a still intense and enthralling grittiness to her performances".[16] Dimitri Ehrlich of Vibe noted classicist soul music influences in "Blige's nostalgic flair".[17] Dele Fadele of NME gave the album an eight out of 10 rating and commented that "[Blige] draws on an eventful life to reach new levels of feeling".[18] Andy Gill of The Independent complimented Blige's "compelling delivery" and wrote that the album "may be her best, the most vivid realisation of her gripping, confessional style".[6] Steve Jones of USA Today gave it a score of three stars out of four and said, "Blige balances her trademark edginess with the personal happiness she has found in recent years. [...] What has always set her apart is that her songs have a ring of truth. Blige still touches souls, by laying bare her own."[19]

Accolades[edit]

In December 2006, Blige received eight Grammy Award nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards for The Breakthrough, the most of any artist for the 2007 awards. "Be Without You" was also nominated for both "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year". Mary won these three Grammy Awards: "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance", "Best R&B Song" (both for "Be Without You"), and "Best R&B Album" for The Breakthrough. Blige then won nine Billboard Music Awards for the work done on The Breakthrough.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "No One Will Do"   4:46
2. "Enough Cryin'" (featuring Brook)
  • Jerkins
  • Garrett[a]
4:20
3. "About You" (featuring will.i.am and Nina Simone) will.i.am 4:04
4. "Be Without You"  
4:06
5. "Gonna Breakthrough" (featuring Brook)
4:00
6. "Good Woman Down"  
4:07
7. "Take Me as I Am"  
  • Infinity
  • Fair
  • Blige[a]
  • Fair[a]
3:57
8. "Baggage"  
3:35
9. "Can't Hide from Luv" (featuring Jay-Z)
  • A. Harris
  • Davis
3:52
10. "MJB da MVP" (featuring 50 Cent) 3:21
11. "Can't Get Enough"  
  • Blige
  • J. Harris III
  • Lewis
  • B.R. Avila
  • I.J. Avila
  • Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
  • James "Big Jim" Wright[d]
  • B. R. Avila[d]
  • I. Avila[d]
3:40
12. "Ain't Really Love"  
  • Blige
  • Cox
  • Austin
  • Candice Childress
4:40
13. "I Found My Everything" (featuring Raphael Saadiq)
5:23
14. "Father in You"  
  • Blige
  • A. Harris
  • Davis
  • Toby
  • A. Harris
  • Davis
5:23
15. "Alone" (featuring Dave Young)
  • Davel "Bo" McKenzie
  • Young
4:29
16. "One" (with U2)
  • Fair
  • Tal Herzberg[d]
4:20
Notes
  • ^a signifies a vocal producer.
  • ^b signifies an additional producer.
  • ^c signifies an additional vocal producer.
  • ^d signifies a co-producer.
Sample credits

Credits adapted from album liner notes.[20]

  • "No One Will Do" contains excerpts from "I Swear I Love No One but You", written by Walter Sigler; published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corporation (BMI), performed by The O'Jays, courtesy of Philadelphia International Records.
  • "About You" contains samples from "Feeling Good", written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse; published by Musical Company Productions (BMI) by arrangement with the Richmond Organization, recorded by Nina Simone, used courtesy of RCA Records, a unit of Sony BMG Music Entertainment.
  • "Gonna Breakthrough" contains samples from The Mohawks recording and composition "Champ", written by Harry Palmer; published by Embassy Music overdue from The Sparta Florida Music Group BMI, produced under the license from Warner Strategic Marketing and Jet Star Phonographics.
  • "Good Woman Down" contains excerpts from "Heart Breaking Decision", written by Robert Aries, Freddie Jackson and Meli'sa Morgan; published by EMI April Music Inc. ASCAP, Wick-Di Music ASCAP, and Universal MCA Music Pub ASCAP, performed by Meli'sa Morgan, used under the license from Capitol Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
  • "Take Me as I Am" contains samples from the composition "A Garden of Peace", written by Lonnie Liston Smith; published by Songs of Universal Inc., performed by Lonnie Liston Smith; courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment.
  • "Can't Hide from Luv" contains excerpts and a sample of the recording "I Wanna Be Where You Are", written by Arthur Ross and Leon Ware; published by Jobete Music Co ASCAP, performed by Willie Hutch. (P) 1977's Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. Courtesy of Motown Records, under license from Universal Music Enterprises.
  • "MJB da MVP" contains excerpts from "Rubberband", written by Ron Baker, Allen Felder and Norman Harris; published by Golden Fleece Music/Mured Music Co. BMI, performed by The Tramps. Used by permission courtesy of Sony/Buddah, it also contains the resung lyrics from the composition "All Night Long", written by James Johnson; published by Stone City Music (ASCAP) from the composition "Remind Me", written by Patrice Rushen and Karen Evans; published by Baby Fingers Music ASCAP, and from the composition "Everybody Loves the Sunshine", written by Roy Ayers; published by Chrysalis Music (ASCAP).

Personnel[edit]

Credits for The Breakthrough adapted from Allmusic.[21]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[54] Gold 35,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[55] Gold 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[56] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[57] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[58] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/309851/mary-j-blige/chart billboard.com
  2. ^ "Gold and Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Kellman, Andy (December 20, 2005). "The Breakthrough - Mary J. Blige | AllMusic: Review". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  4. ^ a b Browne, David (December 23, 2005). "The Breakthrough Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  5. ^ a b Sullivan, Caroline (December 9, 2005). "CD: Mary J Blige, The Breakthrough". The Guardian. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  6. ^ a b Gill, Andy (December 9, 2005). "Album: Mary J Blige - Reviews, Music - The Independent". The Independent. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  7. ^ a b Nichols, Natalie (December 11, 2005). "For Blige, time to give back - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  8. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (December 19, 2005). "Listen Up, All My Troubled Sistahs - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  9. ^ a b Walters, Barry (January 12, 2006). "The Breakthrough". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  10. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (December 22, 2005). "Mary J. Blige: The Breakthrough". Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  11. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (February 2006). "Mary J. Blige, 'The Breakthrough' (Geffen)". Spin. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  12. ^ a b King, Jason (January 17, 2006). "The Royal She - Page 1 - Music - New York - Village Voice". The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  13. ^ a b c "The Breakthrough Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  14. ^ Inskeep, Thomas (January 17, 2006). "Mary J. Blige - The Breakthrough - Review - Stylus Magazine". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  15. ^ Egere-Cooper, Matilda (March 10, 2006). "BBC - Music - Review of Mary J. Blige - The Breakthrough". BBC Online. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  16. ^ "Mary J Blige - Breakthrough CD Album". Muze. CD Universe. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  17. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri (March 2006). "Mary J. Blige – The Breakthrough (Geffen)". Vibe. Vibe Media Group. 13 (3): 186. Retrieved 2011-04-16. 
  18. ^ Fadele, Dele (January 7, 2006). "Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough (Geffen)". NME. IPC Media: 29. Retrieved 2011-04-16. 
  19. ^ Jones, Steve (December 20, 2005). "Another Blige 'Breakthrough'; another Biggie tribute (Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough)". USA Today. Retrieved on 2013-05-01.
  20. ^ The Breakthrough (Media notes). Mary J. Blige. Geffen Records. 2005. 
  21. ^ The Breakthrough - Mary J. Blige | AllMusic: Credits. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-04-16.
  22. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  23. ^ "ARIA Urban Album Chart – Week Commencing 22nd May 2006" (PDF) (846). ARIA Charts. May 22, 2006: 16. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  25. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  26. ^ "Albums : Top 100". Jam!. February 12, 2006. Archived from the original on February 22, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  29. ^ "Lescharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  30. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  31. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 26, 2006". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  32. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  33. ^ ザ・ブレイクスルー | メアリー・J.ブライジ [The Breakthrough | Mary J. Blige] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  34. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  35. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  36. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  37. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  38. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  39. ^ "Mary J Blige | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  40. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  41. ^ "Mary J. Blige – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Mary J. Blige. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  42. ^ "Mary J. Blige – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Mary J. Blige. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  43. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Urban Albums 2006". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  44. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 2006" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  45. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 2006" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. GfK Entertainment. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Årslista Album – År 2006" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  47. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 2006". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  48. ^ "The Official UK Albums Chart: 2006" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. p. 5. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  49. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums: Year End 2006". Billboard. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  50. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: Year End 2006". Billboard. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  51. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Urban Albums 2007". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  52. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums: Year End 2007". Billboard. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  53. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: Year End 2007". Billboard. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  54. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2006 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  55. ^ ゴールド等認定作品認定 2006年3月 (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Archived from the original on March 28, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  56. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Mary J. Blige; 'The Breakthrough')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 10, 2016. 
  57. ^ "British album certifications – Mary J Blige – The Breakthrough". British Phonographic Industry. February 3, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2016.  Enter The Breakthrough in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  58. ^ "American album certifications – Mary J. Blige – The Breakthrough". Recording Industry Association of America. April 10, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2016.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]