With 12 albums under her belt — and a 13th, Strength of a Woman, coming out this Friday, Dec. 9 — Mary J. Blige has had ample opportunity to sing about a variety of topics, from heartbreak to being in love with Mr. Wrong to not feeling well due to PMS (yes, she really has a song about that).
Most people consider the chanteuse an expert on love, but she’s also — as evidenced by the handful of inspirational and self-empowering songs that are littered throughout her albums — a mentor, therapist, friend, and big sister.
In anticipation of her Wednesday, Dec. 7 performance with neo-soul singer Maxwell (who is also often viewed solely as a love singer), we’ve rounded up 10 of Blige’s more universal and uplifting songs. These are tracks that will get you through hard times and just in general make you feel totally fucking awesome about yourself.
Mary J. Blige performs with Maxwell and Ro James on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Oracle Arena. More info here.
1994: “Be Happy”
Tagline: You’ve got to learn how to love yourself and be happy, before you get involved in a relationship.
1997: “Keep Your Head”
Tagline: If things seem shitty right now, be patient and stay positive. They will get better.
Tagline: Throughout life, you will see and experience a lot of shitty, fucked up stuff. But don’t let it get you down. Don’t let it stop you from being free.
2005: “Take Me As I Am”
Tagline: Don’t change for others, and the people who are worthy of being in your life will accept you as you are.
2007: “Just Fine”
Tagline: Don’t ever apologize for being happy with yourself and your life.
2007: “Work That”
Tagline: Be yourself and own it.
2009: “I Feel Good”
Tagline: It’s OK to dress up and feel fucking awesome about yourself. Don’t let the haters get you down.
Tagline: Find what makes you happy in life and do it, because that will be your therapy.
Tagline: Believe in yourself and keep pushing and persevering despite what others say.