Mary J Blige has decided not to go cryptic with the title of her latest album: The London Sessions comprises 12 songs she recorded with the likes of Disclosure, Emeli Sandé and Sam Smith during a recent month-long stay in the city.
In fact, so intent was Blige on imbuing the album with the sound of young London that its recording was allegedly fuelled by a very British stimulant: fish and chips. (You can only presume spontaneous Morris dancing and jokes about John Terry broke out between vocal takes.)
Blige found time to visit Mitch Winehouse, to pay her respects to his daughter, and the opening song here, Therapy, is a self-conscious nod towards Amy Winehouse’s Rehab. Elsewhere, things feel more natural. Blige has the vocal charisma to lift up several piano ballads, and when genuine infusions of the current London scene occur – most effectively on Right Now, the track produced by Disclosure – it neatly refreshes her sound.
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