On The MF Life, Melanie Fiona advances into modern urban territory without forsaking the smoldering retro-soul of her debut release. The Canadian singer dips into a host of stylistic eras in these tracks, interpreting them with an admirable blend of artistic confidence and emotional vulnerability. The MF Life boasts production input by such A-list hitmakers as Rico Love and Salaam Remi and features guest vocal appearances by J. Cole, John Legend, T-Pain, and Nas. She tears into tunes like the hypnotic “This Time,” the dramatic “Break Down These Walls,” and the desperate “Wrong Side of a Love Song.” Her ferocious vocals on the erotically obsessive “Bones” and the conflicted “Running” are matched by the liberation she brings to uplifting tracks like “Change the Record” and “Watch Me Work.” On “4AM” and “6AM,” she applies her old-school R&B magic to smooth contemporary settings. Melanie Fiona keeps her performances real even when asserting her inner diva, making The MF Life a work of both impressive talent and deep, genuine feeling.