Long Hard Look
Label: Capitol Records (CAP)
How can Mary J re-engage with the kids that love her '90s classics, yet now dismiss her as old folks' adult R&B? She tries to solve that with help from UK pop stars like Disclosure and Sam Smith. Unfortunately, she starts with slower numbers -- "Therapy" swings like Amy Winehouse -- that might turn off those weary of her self-help routines. They might not stick around for vital club tracks like the mid-tempo house of "Nobody But You" and "Follow," the '80s synth-rock of "Long Hard Look," and the doomy soul of "Whole Damn Year." Though poorly sequenced, these Sessions are still worth a listen.