Mary J. Blige is an icon who represents the political consciousness of hip hop and the historical promise of soul. She is an everywoman, celebrated by Oprah Winfrey and beloved by pop music fans of all ages and races. Blige has sold over fifty million albums, won numerous Grammys, and even played at multiple White House events, as well as the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonMary J. Blige is an icon who represents the political consciousness of hip hop and the historical promise of soul. She is an everywoman, celebrated by Oprah Winfrey and beloved by pop music fans of all ages and races. Blige has sold over fifty million albums, won numerous Grammys, and even played at multiple White House events, as well as the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Displaying astonishing range and versatility, she has recorded everything from Broadway standards to Led Zeppelin anthems and worked with some of popular music's greatest artists--Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Sting, U2, and Beyonce, among them.Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige tells the story of one of the most important artists in pop music history. Danny Alexander follows the whole arc of Blige's career, from her first album, which heralded the birth of "hip hop soul," to her critically praised 2014 album, The London Sessions. He highlights the fact that Blige was part of the historically unprecedented movement of black women onto pop radio and explores how she and other women took control of their careers and used their music to give voice to women's (and men's) everyday struggles and dreams. This book adds immensely to the story of both black women artists and artists rooted in hip hop and pays tribute to a musician who, by expanding her reach and asking tough questions about how music can and should evolve, has proven herself an artistic visionary....
|Title||:||Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige|
|Number of Pages||:||208 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige Reviews
Real Love, No Drama is not a Mary J. Blige biography but something more valuable. Call what Danny Alexander does here a deep dive into the Blige catalogue, or a critical monograph, or an extended essay with fan notes. Or, better yet, call it a long form example of close listening—one that routinely discovers themes and artistic subtleties in music widely presumed to have none. Alexander makes a series of arguments…Given the music crit’ biases that dominated across her career, Mary J. Blige has, as a black and working-class woman, never received the credit she deserved even as she spearheaded a black-woman-dominant transformation of American popular music…Blige is a great singles artist but one we can’t fully understand unless we also hear her as a great album artist…Blige is a great album artist but one we can’t really understand unless we hear the ways in which she’s also a great live performer--as devoted to her largely black, working class and female audience as it is to her…Her great themes are love, its difficulty and its necessity and then the hard work and honesty that bridge divides across the room and across racial lines and across genres too…Her “aesthetic credo—‘give it love or give it up’”—has expanded across her career to see “the search for love in terms of a search for social justice”…And, finally, by combining hip hop and R&B, Blige is “the most important musical artist to emerge in the last quarter century.” Seriously, there’s never been a pop music book quite like Real Love, No Drama, or a writer who hears the music track to track, to life then back, the way Danny Alexander does. If you care about pop music, you need to read it.
Danny Alexander is a music writer who listens from somewhere out in the crowd, shoulder to shoulder in communion with his sisters and brothers, all of them on their feet and swaying to the music. As a result, Real Love, No Drama puts Mary J. Blige’s music in the heart of what’s happening in real people’s lives, where the love and drama are inherent, and where Blige so often has provided inspiration, guidance, and sustenance for the journey.Through his own listening and watching, through interviews with Blige’s relatives on a visit to the land of her roots in Georgia (where he ends up at the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, established in 1777 – the oldest black church in North America), through unflinching engagement with Blige’s previously documented telling of her life in the Yonkers projects, Alexander shows how and why she reached generations of people who were like her – as well as the Oklahoma white boy who wrote the book.Alexander’s critical biography places Blige’s music in the broad cultural context it deserves, reaching back to her birth at a time of “one of the most vital moments of politically charged black music,” when Edwin Starr, the Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye were protesting and interpreting what was, in fact, going on. That cultural context continues throughout Blige’s career, perhaps no better captured than in the most moving chapter of the book, which deconstructs her performance of “One” with Bono for a Hurricane Katrina benefit. Alexander recognizes he’s not the only one who understands the power of that performance, quoting a Princeton professor who described it as “perhaps the most insurgent political work of a black female pop singer since Nina Simone’s ‘Four Women’ and Mississippi Goddamn.’”Throughout Real Love No Drama, these striking moments reward even readers who aren’t close listeners or devoted fans of Blige. There’s another such moment late in the book when Alexander describes what happened after Blige finished her gospel “The Living Proof” during another relief benefit, this one for Hurricane Sandy. Alexander watches as the television camera “pulled back to show emcees Brian Williams and Jon Stewart looking deferential and moved. Blige hugged them both, long and real.”That is the effect of Alexander’s book, too.
So inspiring! I love Mary J. Blige story and her style! Alexander really captured her spirit as well as the essence of her music. I felt like this was more than a tribute to one artist but the telling of an era where women, women of color in particular, found their voice in America. I fell in love Mary Blige through this biography as it is a struggle to keep going in the face of so many barriers being thrown in front of you and she overcame. A loving tribute and a good read.
This is a masterclass in listening to some under-recognized music genres; cue up the Blige songs and videos; after each chapter you'll want to listen again for the first time.