Mostly produced by Warren 'Baby Dubb' Campbell (husband to one of the Atkins-Campbell twins who make up this duo), Mary Mary's self titled 3rd album is all about drawing people in with the packaging and then conveying the message.
The message is undoubtedly a proclamation of Mary Mary's faith in God but the package ranges from the Hip Hop tinged flavour of 'Believer' and 'Save Me' (which starts with a rap intro from Baby Dubb) to the swing style/big band groove of 'Biggest, Greatest Thing' and then it immediately flips to 'Heaven' which sees them impressively sampling the Honey Cone 1967 hit 'Want Ads' (something very much like a Jackson Five knock off). The next track 'The Real Party' then jumps into the very up-tempo call and response praise and worship style favoured amongst North American Pentecostal churches.
Mary Mary is the duo of twins Erica Atkins-Campbell and Tina Atkins-Campbell (both married unrelated men with the surname Campbell) who started singing in their Dads church choir and came to mainstream prominence in 2000 with album 'Thankful' which spurned the hit single 'Shackles'. As a reflection of their Christian faith they chose the name Mary Mary to honour Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
And in furtherance of their desire to spread their message of faith the last few songs off 'Mary Mary', starting from 'Yesterday', show them off at their gospel message delivery best. None of the overt attempts at mass market appeal of the first few songs but there is still the same theme of finding God in everyday events and the people around them. Songs like 'Love You That Much', 'And I (Feat Kirk Franklin)', 'What is This' and most especially 'Speak to Me' (my current second favourite) are quite refreshing in the context of the album because they maintain the essence of devotional gospel music and still exhibit what is an understanding of how far music has gone since their smash hit 'Shackles' in 2000.
Sadly these final 6 songs, apart from 'And I' which is my current favourite both for its R & B tempo and its message of adoration of a Majestic God, are the most commercially unfriendly songs on the album. This might be a good thing but these tracks (listed above) seem to justify Mary Mary's decision to reach out to a wider audience by varying styles on the earlier tracks.
Quite listenable and enjoyable whether your desire is to partake of the message Mary Mary wish to share or just as a album that's very modern but still firmly rooted in its gospel music depth by this duo that's as partly responsible for bringing gospel music to the mainstream as Kirk Franklin. Enjoyâ¦