By Sarah Godfrey
"Still Standing" is the title of Atlanta singer Monica's new studio album as well as her 12-episode BET reality show about the making of said album. For fans of the behind-the-scenes series, the album isn't just a collection of songs, it's the culmination of hours of hard work and personal sacrifice. Buying a copy isn't just a music purchase; it's a contribution to the college funds of her adorable little sons Rocko and Romelo.
(Almost as catchy as that Filet-O-Fish jingle, after the jump.)
"Still Standing" the album couldn't ask for a better marketing tool than "Still Standing" the show, but it also succeeds as a stand-alone product - good news for those who haven't seen the program or couldn't care less about the human drama behind the music they consume. The disc is a lean 10 tracks, and while the sound is more mature than her 1995 debut "Miss Thang," as it should be, her mellow style of R&B remains comfortingly intact.
Despite a handful of great original ballads, including "Love All Over Me" and "One in a Lifetime," the heavily sampled Missy Elliott productions are the catchiest inclusions. "Everything to Me" borrows so much of Deniece Williams's "Silly" that it almost feels accurate to call it a remake/rewrite of the original, but it's still sounds fresh. "If You Were My Man," another Elliott production, is built on Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Betcha She Don't Love You." And just in case you didn't know that the song is meant to channel the 1980s, Elliott helpfully screams " '80s!" throughout. The rousing title track also serves as Monica's TV show theme, and, other than that Filet-O-Fish jingle, the Ludacris-assisted song of survival is the catchiest piece of music to hit the tube in some time.
Recommended tracks: "Everything to Me," If You Were My Man," "Still Standing"