I always worry about publicly criticizing Monica for fear that one of my nearest and dearest friends, Kim, (the one who inspired the horrific date post) will fly through a window and karate chop me to the neck in retaliation. Or potentially shoot me with one of those glocks that Monica expressed such affinity for in a past VIBE interview. Needless to say, I don’t want to press my luck but I think it needs to be said: New Life isn’t the move.
For the record, it’s not a bad album per se. It’s relatively decent and is sort of a grower. I’d say it the kind of album you clean the house to. Shout out to the neat freaks. Also, Monica sounds quite beautiful throughout the album. In fact, Mo is doing the kind of singing I’ve longbeen calling on her to do. As in, doing more with the instrument God gave her before some pretty lady with the Cassie in her throat makes a deal with a sea witch to snatch that gift away.
And you know, there are some gems found on the record — like the song she’s performing in the clip above. I suppose my issue is that comes across rather uninspired, which makes it a step down from Still Standing.
I’m disappointed that “Anything (To Find You)” wasn’t the big hit I had hoped it to be. I love when Monica sings with that kind of attitude and over those kind of productions. Her Miss Thing style, if you will. She wasn’t kicking down a door and smacking a chick on the song, but the track carried a similar sort of attitude. All and all it was something I could give a good 90s bop to. I think that’s an important quality to have for an R&B artist considering that the 90s bop is making a come back.
But, the song didn’t do that well and Monica seemingly shifted directions. New Life is very ballad heavy, which to be fair, is kind of an audacious move on Mo’s part considering her peers are drawing soul inspirations from acid abusing dance kids in Switzerland. That said, I wish the producers would have given her stronger material to go with her daring decision.
Fine, if you don’t want to snatch scalps anymore ala my personal favorite, “Blackberry,” at least still give us something with some oomph, Mo. What happened to the girl who kicked off a song with, “I gotta nigga/Me and him we be chillin’?” Go get her. Many of the songs found on the record are a bit Betty Wright-lite, and those who know about Betty’s uh, uh, pure loving know that you can’t offer a Coke Zero esque verison of that. Go hard or send the A&R who set up this lackluster stuff home.
I’m going to stop now as the more I go on the more expletives I expect to hear on the receiver of my cell later in the day. Again, the album is alright, Rev. Monica Denise Arnold. It’s just that it’s alright at best and I think Monica is much more capable of that. There’s a great soul and/or hip hop soul album in you (in full adulthood, that is). We know that from her debut, which was recorded when she was only a few years off the nipple.
Better luck next time?
P.S. Goodness. She was singing.