Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Album of the week: ‘My Life’ by Mary J. Blige

Marian Ramos




Since its release in 1994, Mary J. Blige’s “My Life” has remained a staple within the R&B genre. Its melodic rhythms and powerful yet smooth lyrics deliver an incredible listening experience to any music fan. A more relaxed sound compared to her debut effort, “My Life” speaks on the troubles of heartbreak while dealing with the importance of self-love and care. Mary’s empowering lyrics are all but one aspect of the incredible album, as the production and smoothed-out samples provide a simple ride through an otherwise complex project. 

Right out of the gate, listeners are hit with the iconic bassline making up the song “Mary Jane (All Night Long).” The song’s reliance on extended samples set the tone for the entire project, as other tracks such as “You Bring Me Joy, I Love You and Be Happy” all contain famous sampled loops. Despite heavily utilizing 1970s soul breaks, the album’s production remains unique in transforming simple loops into melodic rhythms. The beats behind each track differentiate heavily from other R&B contemporaries, offering a gritty ‘90s sound as opposed to one that is soft and subtle.

Accompanying the melodic R&B hip-hop beats are Blige’s vocals. A pioneer of the R&B genre, Blige’s vocal range and soulful taste are brilliantly showcased throughout the entire album. Her ability to hold notes and sing with incredible power is displayed in several songs such as “My Life and I Never Wanna Live Without You.” 

Though her singing is impressive, it is the lyrical content of “My Life” that makes the album such a special one. Speaking from personal experiences, Blige expresses the pain of heartbreak while encouraging ideas of self-love and personal growth. While songs such as “Don’t Go” and “I’m Goin’ Down” deal with the ending of a relationship, other tracks such as “You Gotta Believe and Be Happy” focus on self-healing and the power of self-love. Her lyrics continue to speak volumes throughout the project, offering powerful lines such as, “How can I love somebody else if I can’t love myself enough to know when it’s time to let go.” Each song off the sophomore album has something every listener can relate to, making it truly transcendent. 

Whether it is the smooth yet hard-hitting beats, the soulful voice or the empowering lyrical content, “My Life” has something that nearly every music fan can relate to and enjoy. Its ability to stand the test of time makes it one of the greatest R&B albums of all time, and one that should be in everyone’s musical rotation.

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About the Contributor
Logan Martinez
Logan Martinez, Staff Writer
Logan Martinez is a communication major set to graduate in 2026. This is going to be his second semester at The Paisano. He is heavily passionate about writing and hopes to one day become a sports journalist after graduating college. He is a huge San Antonio Spurs fan and a die-hard Yankees fan. When not tasked with writing, he is almost always listening to music, watching sports or hanging out with friends.

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    RayApr 11, 2024 at 11:23 am

    Classic! Still have this in heavy rotation.