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CD Review: Monica's "The Makings of Me"

A Very Personal Album

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

By

CD Review: Monica's

Album cover © J Records

The Makings of Me is such a very personal album that listening to it is almost like reading a diary. Over the years, our girl Monica has seen many personal and professional ups and downs and many of them are explored on the album. The songwriting and song production are excellent, but the one problem is that Monica's powerful voice lacks emotion, and that dilutes the album's impact somewhat.

Lush, Laid-Back Songs

Although still in her mid-20s, Monica's been though some serious ups and downs, both personally and professionally. And The Makings of Me is a very personal album, exploring those up and downs in detail.
First of all, if you were wondering, the album's lead single and opening track, the Jermaine Dupri-produced "Everytime Tha Beat Drop," is definitely not typical of the album.
The song, which features Monica's fellow Atlantans Dem Franchize Boyz is one of the few tracks featuring rappers and is more of an upbeat, party song than all but a couple of other tracks on the album, including the Swizz Beatz-produced "Raw."
The album's second song, "A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)," produced by Missy Elliot, is more typical of the album. It's a lush, laid-back, track that revolves around a Curtis Mayfield sample. The problem with it (if you want to call it that) is that it's a direct thematic clone of R. Kelly's "You Remind Me (of Something)." Monica herself even mentions that in the song.
But the following song, the mid-tempo "Sideline Ho," is an all-original. On the song, Monica explains to a man's 'other woman' that if he doesn't take her to church, spend holidays with her, give her credit cards, etc. then she's a "sideline ho."

Drama-Filled Songs

On the piano-laced 'Why Her," Monica wonders aloud why her man cheated on her with a specific woman. Why her?/Did I get on your nerves?/Did I give you too much and you couldn't handle my love? Why her? Tell me what she was worth, to make you put her first.
Such drama-filled tales are typical of The Makings of Me and other songs, including "Hell No" and "Gotta Move On" typify this.
But on the flip side, there's also a few songs about good men, including "My Everything" and the Missy Elliot-produced "Doin' Me Right."
Overall, there's a good variety of material and many very-well written songs. There could have been better choices for guest rappers (Dem Franchize Boyz and Twista are so b-list) but most of the song production is rock-solid.
The odd thing is that as great a singer as Monica is, most of her songs on this album lack the emotion the song requires. She cuts loose on "Gotta Move On," (yet another Missy Elliot-produced track), but for the most part, Monica seems more concerned with pitch-perfect singing than singing with genuine emotion.
This hurts a few songs, such as the ballad "Getaway." Monica's a very good singer, but only does an adequate job of making the listener empathize with her.
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