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Released: 19th December 2005.

Mary J. Blige - Be Without YouMiss Blige is back, and just in time for Christmas. The latest release from arguably the queen of R&B and hip-hop soul, is a beautiful slow jam. Clever lyrics swish through her incredible vocals, which sit on top of a gentle R&B beat, tied together with a great piano riff. Sure, Alicia Keys and Ashanti are good singers too, but this track is a firm reminder of why Mary J. Blige does it so much better.

* * * * (hype)

Mary J. Blige releases her first single since her 2004 collaboration with Talib Kweli. "Be Without You" marks a return to the best times, as this mix of R&B and soul music is what Mary should never have moved away from. It's an emotional ballad - the best choice of song for Christmas. How well it will do in the charts is hard to predict, but it's still a great effort.

* * * * (Ilya Khorkov)

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