Amber Sweeney

Amber Sweeney is an accomplished soul-rock singer and songwriter from the Pacific Northwest

Song Crush Sunday - "Therapy" by Mary J. Blige

There have been so many studies about the impact that music has on us, giving way to music therapy treatments for the infirm, autistic children, and so on. Of course, many people have turned to music for their own kind of therapy when they have gone through various traumas, such as break-ups, or a tragic loss. While there is some sort of healing power that can come with music, it doesn’t replace genuine therapy with trained professionals, which is something that I felt compelled to express before diving into this week’s SCS. If you are seriously struggling  with depression, anxiety, and anything else that is preventing you from being happy and productive, please find the courage inside of you to seek out the professional help you deserve. That’s right. You deserve to have a safe place to show your vulnerabilities, recover from trauma, and heal.

That leads me to this week’s Song Crush Sunday. Mary J. Blige’s, “Therapy” from her recent LP The London Sessions.

When I first heard this song, the captivating, soul-filled melodic chants hit a deep place inside of me. Those hypnotizing vocals carried me gently along, like a train running over the tracks, and it made me want to jump on immediately — no matter where that train was going. They are an immediate “hook” well placed by the infamous producer Eg White. The vocals are definitely mirroring old spirituals, setting the tone and making room for a heart felt, musical testimony.   

And then there’s the combined incoming of the beat and Mary’s powerful, emotion filled vocals. I really felt like she was testifying, and her first lines humbled me. “Why would I spend the rest of my days unhappy.” I have been a long-time fan of Mary J. Blige. She has always been able to bring such power and such vulnerability to every song…even when she was “searching for a real love.”

“Therapy” is one of those songs that touches on something all of us can relate to, in one way or another, but few of us are ever honest enough to realize that we deserve help. We deserve to be happy, and that happiness is not going to come from some circumstance or another person. Mary is brutally honest when she says, “I don’t want to be around me. And I don’t blame you if you’re blocking all my calls.” With a remarkably crafted production, Mary says out loud what we all have felt at various times in our lives, but she gives a redeeming testimony that she “can go therapy” and discover how to love herself, and to find happiness by learning to see and believe in her own value.

Aside from the lyrics and those soulful vocals, the production on this track is truly A-level, world class, and something I look forward to using as a reference for future projects of my own. Also, like last week’s SCS, “Therapy” highlights moments where the drummer taps the rims of his drums in lieu of pounding on the snare all the way through the song. Not only did this make room for one Mary’s vocal to shine (which is also one of the BEST vocal performances I’ve ever heard her give), but it also gave me the feeling of sitting on a back porch somewhere in the south, listening to a musical group of friends play one of the best jam sessions I’ve ever heard.

All I can say is, I love this song. I crank it up, and sing along. Loudly. Every time I get in the car. It’s that good.

The whole London Sessions Album is available on iTunes. Go ahead. Get it. Share it. You’ll be so glad you did. And as always, Listen With Your Heart.

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