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Future of Music: Mary J. Blige

November 15, 2007 8:31 PM ET

Technology has changed a lot in the way people can get music now. Do you think that changes the way people experience music?
It changes the organic-ness of how we experienced and how we got introduced to music. You don't have a personal moment to listen to the music and look at the album cover and really sit through it. Everything moves so fast now, people don't have time. With all the iPods and the computers, everything is so fast, so you don't have a moment to just really suck it in for what it's really, really worth — you're just on to the next one. "Okay, let's download this song, let's get this song." We used to listen to whole albums, and that's no more.

Do you feel like music has a social responsibility?
I think it's a responsibility to those who want it. You can't just say to a person, automatically, once children see you on television and they start singing your songs, you do have a responsibility. I know I have a responsibility.From day one, I've been singing songs about women. It's my responsibility to walk what I'm talking about and say, "Okay, if I'm screaming about confidence, then I've got to be confident," because it's a different job for me, it's a different thing. People come up to me and they say, "Mary, you're helping me." Now, I've got a responsibility to not hurt them.

Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
I'm optimistic. I have to think optimistic, because I believe what we think becomes a living thing. If we think pessimistic, then imagine the whole world thinking pessimistic about the future — because then that's what we're gonna have. We've got that much power. I have to think optimistic to put that in the universe so things will change. I can change things with just that thought.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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