Mary Mary

Studio Album by released in 2005
Mary Mary's tracklist:
Believer
Biggest, Greatest Thing
Heaven
Real Party (Trevon's Birthday)
Save Me (feat. Baby Dubb)
Yesterday
What Is This
Love You That Much
Stand Still
And I (feat. Kirk Franklin)
Speak to Me

Mary Mary review

Sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell and Tina Atkins-Campbell comprise the ever-popular duo, Mary Mary. They played a key role in bringing the Christian music industry to the attention of mainstream audiences. Their debut album, Thankful, went platinum and its single Shackles (Praise You) made its way onto gospel, soul and pop charts, setting a precedent that invigorating a quiescent niche. With 2002 came the gold-selling Incredible, a more expansive affair once again produced to near perfection, though it didn't meet expectations created by their debut. Now three years later, the siblings are back with Mary Mary, furthering their trademark mix of new- and old-school R&B with just enough pop and gospel appeal for people inside or outside church walls. Produced by Warryn “Baby Dubb” Campbell (Brandy, Boyz II Men, Dru Hill, Luther Vandross) it contains the urban vibe we're used to from the group while at the same breaking new ground.

The opening Believer is the kind of powerful, new jack gospel fans have grown to expect from the group, and while it's great to hear the sisters still have it, where the album goes from here is what makes it special. Biggest Greatest Thing is a big band-styled number while Heaven samples Honey Cone's feel-good hit Want Ads for just about the greatest hand-clapper Mary Mary have ever delivered. House music is inspiration for The Real Party, a fast-paced party song with celebratory horns and a near-disco beat. What Is This is as big and grand as whatever 2005 pop or R&B ballad you care to mention, but if all this sounds like Mary Mary are derivative, one listen will convince you the pop and R&B worlds could borrow just as much from the album as the sisters have from the two genres. The first thing you'll notice about Yesterday is its 60's style. Sounding almost like an unreleased Ray Charles track, the song was penned by Warryn Campbell. Complete with a full orchestra, it's definitely old-school – with a gospel twist. But the greatest surprise of the record comes with And I, perhaps the most worshipful song the tandem has ever recorded. Kirk Franklin guests on the track, which spares no expense decorating the mid-tempo number with flamenco guitars, sentimental strings, and a pensive rhythmic foothold.

Raising the contemporary gospel bar once again, Mary Mary deserves your attention. Tina and Erica have both matured, each juggling families and their ministries. The lyrics are as spiritually complete as Thankful and Incredible, yet the music is definitely more experimental and broader, characterizing a more seasoned, confident Mary Mary. At only eleven tracks, this is the most concise duo's album yet, but it's also the most consistent. From the sparse Speak to Me to the intricately composed And I, the Campbell sisters and their producers have put great effort into making a record with the potential of turning heads, whether the tunes are aimed at the proverbial choir, the unchurched, or those who simply aren't sure where they belong.

(11.08.2005)
Rate review4.03
Total votes - 100


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