Who am I? What do I believe in? And has my soul become possessed by an adult-contemporary demon? Because, the thing is, I just listened to the new Mary J. Blige single, “Just Fine,” and I do not get it. I do not get it at all. Maybe it’s the dated hand-claps that sounded better on Lumidee back in 2003. Maybe it’s the absence of a strong melody (so crucial for keeping Mary J’s vocals on point). Maybe I just prefer a heartbroken MJB fighting against the odds. Or maybe it’s because the lyrics here sound like they were torn from Dr. Phil’s seventh-grade notebook. “No time for mopin’ around, are you kiddin’?/ Ain’t no time for negative vibes, ‘cause I’m winnin.” I know Mary don’t need no hateration, holleration in this dancerie, but, seriously? Ugh!
Meanwhile, Celine Dion’s latest, “Taking Chances,” is actually — how do I put this? — pretty good! The funny thing is, in spite of all her success on the pop charts, Dion has become synonymous with uncool in recent years. In defense of the Hipness Police, Dion did team up with Anne Geddes on 2004’s Miracle, and spent several years performing inside a humidified bubble on the Las Vegas stage. But “Taking Chances” reveals a more restrained side of Dion. I’ve listened to the track three times now, and not once was I able to conjure up a vision of the singer histrionically beating her chest during the chorus. True, I also couldn’t conjure up a vision of the song landing on my iPod, but it beats the crap out of the inferior “Just Fine.” There, I said it!
What do you think, PopWatchers? Give both tracks a listen and tell me if I’m right, or if I’ll be spending time dangling over the fiery pit of musical hell.