Review: Mary J. Blige, ‘Stronger With Each Tear’

Review: Mary J. Blige, ‘Stronger With Each Tear’: Aidin Vaziri | Mary J. Blige burned through so much raw emotion in her early albums, particularly in the period covering 1994’s “My Life” to 1999’s “Mary,” that you might forgive her for lifting her foot from the gas pedal midway through her career. Reliving her coming-of-age struggles so vividly on those releases brought her critical acclaim, commercial success and the opportunity to move on. So why hasn’t she? “Stronger With Each Tear,” Blige’s ninth studio album, once again finds her mining the past for inspiration, but with only a fraction of the sweat. Apart from the minor-key standout, “I Can See in Color,” on loan from the soundtrack to “Precious,” Blige sounds sterilized amid all the top-shelf producers, collaborators and Auto-Tune technicians who let her surface above the electronic burble only to offer the kind of bland affirmations best suited for daytime talk shows.

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