Mary J. Blige

Reflections: A Retrospective

Reflections: A Retrospective is billed as the first greatest-hits disc for Mary J. Blige, one of the greatest R&B stars of the past decade. A third is dedicated to new songs such as the title ballad, where she sings, "I remember back when I didn't know which way to live/I remember back when pain was all I had to give." Older classics include her first big crossover hit "Real Love"; her Method Man duet "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By"; and "My Life '06," which adds new vocals and instrumentation to the 1994 original. Clearly, a lot of Blige's singles (such as "Reminisce," "Your Child" and "Seven Days") are missing, and Reflections sounds incomplete without them.

Someday, perhaps years (or decades) from now, we'll get a compilation that does her justice — from the hit singles and album-only ballads to the remixes and guest spots. Until then, Reflections will have to do. 3 stars