“Aaaat Laaaast, New Life, has come along… My lonely days are overrr… and life is liiiiike a song-ong-ong-ong-ong-ong!!!” I know a good amount of Doves and wannabe haters/down low discreet Monica fans have been waiting to read my New Life ALBUM REVIEW so now, your wait is over. New Life is here and so is my respectful album review. And I have much to say and so much love and respect for Monica here. New Life gets an overall 4.5 out of 5 stars from me. Monica is one of the best and here’s proof: A great performance of Monica performing a flawless beautiful soulful “soul remix of It All Belongs To Me” via AOL Soul Sessions. Just pure hotness. This is real music.
NEW LIFE: Miguel Clark’s Album Review
New Life marks Monica Brown’s (formally known as Monica Arnold‘s) seventh album. From her debut onto the music scene back in the mid 1990s, it’s clear to notice that she has came a very long way, spiritually and musically. I have been a Monica fan since forever, and I became a big Monica fan around The Boy Is Mine album era. It’s amazing to reminisce on how paramount Monica was in the music industry back in the 1990s. She has been around going on twenty years sooner than later and fortunately she’s showing no signs of retiring. And the notion Monica and Brandy going on tour together is spectacular and I hope it falls through with a bang!
New Life was recently released a week ago on April 10, 2012 (in the U.S.A.) You can find it on I Tunes, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, FYE, even DTLR sells it, so there’s no excuse why you can’t go and buy it. Because music this classic and good should definitely be supported and appreciated! A few words to describe New Life: Classic, brilliant, sophisticated, distinguished, lovely, rhythm and blues, soulful, inspirational, meaningful, heartfelt, positive, and veracious. Simply put, I love this album and I mean that from the heart. As a music lover and as a “dove” I can say that this is one of her best albums; I’d definitely place in the top four list of her best work. It was criticized tremendous for being too slow, chill, somber, and too ballad heavy. After listening to the album many times, I do not agreed with the dreadful critics. This is not a partying type of album, it’s more on a adult serious type mood. So to me, New Life isn’t flawed due to a lack of club bangers/uptempo tracks; It is just right. Thumbs up to everybody involved. Besides the obvious New Life featured contributions from those such as Rico Love, Lamb, Earl Hood and Eric Goudy, Polow Da Don, Missy Elliott, Jazmine Sullivan, Jermaine Dupri, Brian-Micheal Cox, Salaam Remi, D. Smith, Pop & Oak, Peter Edge, Trevor Jerideau, and last but certainly not least Melinda Dancil. On a side note, I’ve love for Darkchild and Monica to work together again. I also think that The Neptunes, Danja, RedOne, David Foster, Rich Harrison, and David Guetta could do wonders for Monica’s future albums.
New Life was originally under J Records, but in late 2011 Monica and her team decided to move on to greener pastures and take a leap of faith onto the RCA Records bandwagon. RCA is a formidable force, nevertheless I feel/know that they have not been pushing New Life has hard as they could/should. Hopefully now that the album is actually in stores and available to purchase, they’ll pick up the slack and come around before it is too late. Monica’s new album will debut at number four on the main overall top 200 albums Billboard chart and it’ll debut at number two on the R&B/Hip Hop album Billboard chart. I would have liked it to reach number one in the first week and sell at least 150,000 to 250,000 copies/units, however sometimes in this crazy ever-changing music industry, things don’t always play out exactly how you expect or wish for them too. I wish Monica nothing but lots of success, prosperity, wisdom, growth, peace, and love. New Life is a beautiful classic R&B album. God bless you Monica! And to the folks out there who are doubtful, please take a chance and go buy this album so you can see why I love it so much.
Most favorite tracks to least + ratings (out of 5 stars)
1. It All Belongs To Me = 5 out of 5 stars
2. Big Mistake = 5 out of 5 stars
3. Time To Move On = 5 out of 5 stars
4. Cry = 5 out of 5 stars
5. Until It’s Gone = 4.5 out of 5 stars
6. Take A Chance = 4.5 out of 5 stars
7. Amazing = 4.5 out of 5 stars
8. Without You = 4 out of 5 stars
9. Daddy’s Good Girl = 4 out of 5 stars
10. Man Who Has Everything = 4 out of 5 stars
Track # 1 - New Life (Intro) ~ This interesting intro opens up the album and sets the tone for New Life. Monica apparently calls Mary J Blige to speak on her thoughts about moving forward with her life. Monica says she has been contemplating her current life and finally truly moving on from her old life into her new life. She is putting her past behind her to give her the proper room to cherish and embrace her new life. And Mary J Blige gives Monica some positive and uplifting encouragement/advice.
Track # 2 - It All Belongs To Me ~ This is New Life’s third single and official lead single. It All Belongs To Me is full of fortitude, female empowerment, sass, bitterness, pride, and ferocity. This is my favorite song on the album and if Brandy wasn‘t on here, this probably would be my 2nd, 3rd, or 4th favorite song on New Life. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s one of those fiery hot midtempo R&B songs that has so much attitude that you can’t help but listen to what it is saying as it plays. It has the same energy as Carrie Underwood’s Songs Like This from Play On, as well as Beyonce’s Irreplaceable from B‘Day. It All Belongs To Me is a mid-tempo duet with superstar (often crowned as The Vocal Bible) BRANDY! If your memory serves you well, you’ll remember the first duet they did together back in 1998 called The Boy Is Mine. It was a worldwide hit, it tops the charts, was all over radio and television, and it even got them nominated for a Grammy in which Brandy and Monica won together! I have my fingers crossed that destiny will repeat itself and they’ll win another Grammy for this song. Darkchild & his team, Dallas Austin, and Brandy produced The Boy Is Mine. And hit maker Rico Love produced and wrote the majority of It All Belongs To Me. This song was released not too long again in February 2012 via VH1, and the fabulous Chris Robinson directed music video accompanied its release about a month after the song’s premiere. It All Belongs To Me is featured on both Monica and Brandy’s new albums. Brandy’s new upcoming album Two Eleven will be due out in June/July 2012, so look out for it! Brandy and Monica are a force to be reckoned with, so beware! By the way, the video reached just about every position possible on the 106 and Park countdown, EXCEPT for the number one spot. Is it just me or does anyone else think that BET is a little shady, and the same goes for certain radio stations! This song is clearly a hit and deserves to be number one on the charts, radios, and on the VH1/BET video show countdowns. This song is so hot, when I first heard it, it instantly became my ringtone. (And yes I did purchase the ringtone.) RCA Records did a good job with promotion, but not a great job. It should have been pushed 10 times harder than it was! Also I’d love to see this performed live at the 2013 Grammy Awards!
Track # 3 - Daddy’s Good Girl ~ This is a good song. I like it a lot. I think that this would sound REALLY nice on the radio. Thumbs up!
Track # 4 - Man Who Has Everything ~ Here’s yet another solid R&B midterm track. It has a slight Reggae feel and it works well. Thing is a good song. I have no problem saying that I like this song. Also Monica has said that this is one of her top favorite songs on New Life. LISTEN to it LIVE via AOL Soul Sessions as Monica performs a nice shorten rendition of it.
Track # 5 - Big Mistake ~ This song is everything to me! Hands down this is my number one jam on New Life! I’ll be rocking this song a very long time! I love this song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is freaking GREAT! I adore everything about this song, it was arranged, produced, written, and performed so well! Awesome execution. This track equates contemporary R&B royalty. This song hits all right marks for me personally. This is one of those songs that has the ability to create epiphanies as well as heal emotional scars.
Track # 6 - Take A Chance ~ I am so glad this song made the album! Some folks at first listen may not fully fathom the real meaning behind this song. This song has a lot of depth and zeal. To me, on the surface this is a cute simple nice song, but underneath this song is very deep, mature, serious, and most of all courageous! I can relate to this song now and I can envision me still rating to it in the future. I love this song! I could see a music video to this, I bet it’d sound good on the radio too. And does anyone else hear Monica’s Michael Jackson influenced vocals in verse one?!
Track # 7 - Without You ~ This is New Life’s official FOURTH single, released in late April/early May 2012. We can expect the music video to come out in mid to late May. I really hope her team doesn’t slack on making this a great quality video; One that would captivate people of all kinds. This was the only song on the album produced by Polow Da Don. And it is a definitely nice addition to New Life. Without You is a classic contemporary R&B love song with a little more beat and bass than most songs of this kind. This isn’t the most radio friendly song in the bunch, however it is quite relatable. I hope that this does well on radio/the charts, because I like this song. This song is good, but it lacks a few things, one of those things being a bridge. No love lost though. By the way, this is far from being an album filler.
Track # 8 - Until It’s Gone ~ This was buzz single number two as well as New Life’s official second single. It came out in early fall of 2011. This is a slow midtempo straight up R&B song. It’s somewhat catchy. I’m certainly a fan of Until It’s Gone! You can tell Monica meant this song deep inside her heart. This is another song that means a lot to me, because of how much I can literally relate to it. I love this song! By the way, Until It’s Gone has a really nice music video, THUMBS UP!
Track # 9 - Amazing ~ Somebody tell me why do I hear Brandy’s style in some parts of this song? Am I complaining, lol, no, not at all! This song sounds like a mixture between a old classic Monica song and a old classic Brandy song (leading more towards the Full Moon era.) This is a strong song on New Life and they did a wonderful job with it! I love it!!!!!!!
Track # 10 - Cry ~ I can hear this song on a Christina Aguilera album, on a Joss Stone album, on a Amy Winehouse album, on a Estelle album, on a Janelle Monae album, on a Fantasia album, on a Angie Stone album, on a Jill Scott album, a Jazmine Sullivan album, and probably even on an Etta James album too! Salaam Remi did an incredible job with this song, kudos sir! This is what I call pure hotness. This is an R&B masterpiece. Although I do feel as if Monica would have went there even more on some parts with the vocals. Needless to say, I am in love with this song! *Claps hands*. Artist needs to make more songs like this with such depth and dynamic quality. This track is the truth, but you have to be a true music lover to understand where I’m really coming from.
Track # 11 - Time To Move On ~ Monica KILLED the mess out of this song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Monica! Monica is a bad chick and she has no probably proving it every now and then. I absolutely adore this song a lot! I can definitely relate to this song as well. Thank you for including the track on New Life! This is a classic Monica song and one of her best yet!
Track # 12 - New Life (Outro) ~ This tracks shows Monica counting her blessings, being grateful, realizing that she’s in control of her own destiny, and moving away from her troubled past and into a brighter future.
Bonus tracks from the Deluxe Edition:
Track # 13 - Breathe = 4.5 out of 5 stars + I like this song A LOT, I mean really! I definitely connect with this track and have felt EXACTLY this way before! Monica sings the whole song throughout without almost ever stopping to take a “breath” or to gain her composure back. You can feel the present zeal in her voice and the past anguish in her voice; She really means every word/adlib/note. This is a beautiful heartache type ballad. She puts the raw truth out on the table, evaluates it, communicates it well, then finally decides to end the relationship and move on in life so she can be whole and free again. This might be the most genuine sounding song on New Life. By the way, if the producer of this track would have added even more pure refreshing harmonies throughout this track (in the background), this song would have sounded perfect as solely an a cappella production!!!!!
Track # 14 - In 3D = 4.5 out of 5 stars + This is a hot song! I could even hear this on the radio. Thumbs up to everyone who was involved in making this track, it’s so nice. I can easily listen to this song over and over and over and over and over again and not get tired of it one bit. This is a beautiful, composed, steady, slow mid-tempo track about love and her wanting her lover to see/feel what she effortlessly and clearly sees, and that‘s that her intuition/spirit tells her that they could have the greatest love ever and it‘s very close in their grasp. Them being in love and happily together, it’s nearly mind-blowing to her and she’s trying to figure out what’s taking her lover so long to realize/see what she does. She’s like, “Come on boo, open your eyes and recognize our future together, we’ll love each other for the rest of our lives.” (That’s not a line from the song, I’m just paraphrasing.) Also, thumbs up to Monica getting some writing credits on this song, I’m proud of her.
Track # 15 - Catch Me = 4 out of 5 stars + This is a nice song, I like it, and it blends in well with the entire album. There are definitely much stronger songs on the album, nevertheless this is far from an “album filler”. This is a solid contemporary R&B mid-tempo song that millions of folks can surely relate to and jam to. (I haven’t ever heard of the guys who produced this song, but they did a nice job so I’m glad that Monica branched out and gave them a chance to be featured on New Life.)
Track # 16 - Anything (To Find You) = 4 out of 5 stars + This was buzz single number one as well as New Life’s official first single. It came out in late summer of 2011. This track was primarily produced by Missy Elliott with some assistance form Lamb. And this track was primarily written by (the talented writer/vocalist) Jazmine Sullivan with some assistance from Missy Elliott and Lamb. It features heavyweight rapper Rick Ross, he has a small part in the song to give it that extra hip hop flavor. However in my opinion Rick Ross really isn’t needed, because the song is good all by itself. There’s also another actual version of Anything (To Find You) that features both Rick Ross and (the talented female rapper) Lil’ Kim. But I’m guessing that her small part was a little bit too raunchy or risky to include on New Life. I’m sure there are no hard feelings, although I know for a fact that Lil’ Kim fans adore that version much better than the album version. Anything (To Find You) samples Biggie Smalls aka Notorious B.I.G.’s 1995 hit (diss to rival rapper Tupac Shakur) “Who Shot Ya”. Thank God that Anything is no where near as provocative and angry as Who Shot Ya. Also the first four lines that Monica sings should sound familiar, because Mary J Blige sung the exact same lyrics/melody at the beginning of a 1990s hip hop hit. This is a cool song with a grooving beat. It’s one of those songs that when they play it at the club, you know it’s time to slow down, get less crunk, dance lightly, breathe, go to the restroom, tweet, see what a friend in the club is doing, or go get something to drink to quench your thirst. I like this song.