Mary J. Blige sings from the gut. Sometimes what's in there isn't pretty or safe for all ears. The voice she speaks from might not have either of those ingredients, but neither was that true for Billie Holiday (one of her inspirations) or Otis Redding (who sang the same way). For Reflections, you see her evolution from a woman in search of external validation to a woman who discovered peace within herself.
I've always thought when you purchased a Greatest Hits CD, you ended up with the older stuff first and the newer stuff towards the end of the disc. This album, however, is meant to be a push towards the newer stuff that Mary records - positive, upbeat, with not as much of the self-pity of her early years. The best of the four new tracks is "Reflections (I Remember)," which is a general overview of her life and her life in music from beginning to end.
After one listens to the four new songs on the album, you get to go down memory lane with such cuts as Real Love (from What's The 411?) and Not Gon' Cry (from the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack). Remixed, and perhaps the most remembered of this collection is "My Life," which I can say is the Mary most are familiar with. Another gem of her oldies is "You're All I Need To Get By," which took gangsta rap and R&B to a new formation.
My personal favorite of the whole collection is "911" with Wyclef Jean. It sounds different from the rest of her material for the simple fact that Jean seems to have a bright-side attitude to his music - even when he has something to say. My only other favorite is unfortunately not on this collection - "Overjoyed", a remake of the Stevie Wonder song. That might not be a problem for just myself when it comes to this CD though.