I wasn’t looking for this; in fact I didn’t even know I needed it. But, oh, it is very, very necessary: Mary J. Blige channeling Julie Andrews in a cover of ‘My Favorite Things’.
I know, right? It’s perfect. In her interpretation, ‘schnitzel’ and ‘strudel’ are no longer tasty dishes, but Mary’s own bittersweet memories of Bavaria! And the video, even though it looks like a quickie-shoot-for-the-marketing-department job, succeeds in showcasing her pure fabulousness, reminding us that she’s one of the few women living today who can pull off a metallic turban. Liz Taylor would be so proud.
If Beyonce is our Tina Turner, all legs and fierce fire, then Mary is our Aretha. She sings soul-first. Even though she has the power to belt each and every tune, she doesn’t need to rely on vocal histrionics to make her point. Her control and range, her ability to convey the emotion of the song, her confidence – all of these elements make her, arguably, our generation’s greatest vocalist. For more proof, listen to her version of ‘Mary, Did You Know’. As the song moves from an understated ache to a gospel revelation about the Son of God, her voice will make you a believer.
I like the fact that she’s recorded her holiday album, A Mary Christmas, with the Verve label, home of classic American singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone. It’s where Mary belongs.
So, check out her holiday album and have yourself a very, merry Mary Christmas!