Edge

Song of Spring: Mary J. Blige ‘No More Drama’

It had been awhile since I had gone to a gay club – not that indulging in hedonism and superficialities is such an unfavorable pastime. It was just that I had grown tired, and almost bored, with the queers as folks.

So imagine my surprise to find some type of aesthetical enjoyment halfway through a night full of sweaty T-shirt swirling muscle men and plastic, diva-worshipping overly-coiffed boys.

After a long dose of high intensity techno, the music got real quiet, somber blue lights washed the dance floor, little pieces of foam started showering the gelled-up hairs of the guys, and the Young and the Restless theme started playing.

The guys all around me smiled; they knew the song. It must have been played again and again. Mary J. Blige’s No More Drama seems targeted for the young, gay, ethnic “Paris is Burning” set – with all it’s mentions of lost love, cheating boyfriends, and frequent use of the very gay word: drama.

Maybe Blige knows her fan base, or maybe Blige has a kinship with this demographic. Considering the plotline of the song, and the usually topsy-turvy, conflicting lives of gay youth, I’d guess the latter.

Blige begins the song bemoaning the trivialities of the petty soap operas facing her life. Broken heart again, another lesson learned, better know your friends, or you will be burned. Sounds like somebody’s boyfriend cheated on her with her best friend.

And while most diva songs would discount this fact for the length of the song, Blige’s already sick of the whole idea. She’s moving on. It’s not even the best friend or the boyfriend she’s mad at, it’s the whole idea of living with these prosaically repetitive dramas.

But maybe I like it this way, cause I was young and restless, but that was long ago, I don’t want to cry no more. As the song moves along, we find Blige coming to grips more and more with her lifestyle, understanding a newfound yearning for independence and self-sufficiency. The strains of the Young and Restless theme start getting more and more washed out by Blige’s voice as she crescendos and the song begins to pick up steam.

Just as it reaches its climax, the build up stops, and we are back to just the Young and Restless theme and a controlled Blige singing, I don’t know…Only God knows where the story ends for me, but I know where the story begins.

In this most elegant section of the song, Blige calls attention to the soap opera backdrop again, calling her life a “story,” a word so many suburban housewives use in reference to their soap. She is finding her ground – her life is starting over, hopefully drama-free.

Blige wants us to believe, and keeps stating, that she hates all these dramatics – she wants a life free of “tears,” “games,” and “pain.” Yet, the most ironic part of the song is just how dramatic the song itself is. As much as she hates drama, Blige herself can’t help lay the drama on.

After all, she is the diva of the moment – the woman who practically lost it on the Grammys’ stage, the fierce woman who spouts out all her emotions with force, a killer voice, raw energy: All of the exaggerated aspects of a woman that the “diva” represents.

By the end of the song, albeit all her attempts to control her urges to burst, she bursts. Her strong voice has escalated to a fever pitch – wrought with all sorts of emotions, proclamations, exclamations, and, most importantly, screaming with drama.

As much as Blige insists she longs for “no more drama,” one realizes that she could not live without it. Perhaps, after a long day of dealing with backstabbing friends and unfaithful boyfriends, a gal may get sick and tired of having a life worthy of Erica Kane. Still, though, without a life full of Shakespearean-level dramatics, Blige’s brazen voice would have no backdrop from which to sing. It would whither and that in itself is a plot-twist no one wishes.

April 12, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.