Deep Album Cuts Vol. 75: Monica

Over the past week or two, my favorite Monica single, "So Gone," has experienced something of a second life with the hashtag #SoGoneChallenge trending on Twitter, popularized by Chance The Brown, with Monica herself and the song's writer, Missy Elliott, eventually offering their own spin on the viral craze. So I decided to finish my Monica deep album cuts playlist, which had been on my to-do list for this series ever since I kicked it off with her "The Boy Is Mine" duet partner Brandy.

Monica Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. Woman In Me (Interlude)
2. I Wrote This Song
3. Miss Thang
4. Gone Be Fine featuring Outkast
5. Catch Me
6. Doin' Me Right
7. Code Red featuring Missy Elliott and Laiyah
8. Get It Off featuring Dirtbag
9. If You Were My Man
10. Gotta Move On
11. Ring Da Bell
12. Skate
13. Raw featuring Swizz Beatz
14. Deep
15. Take Him Back
16. That's My Man
17. Get Down
18. 'Cross The Room
19. Ain't Gonna Cry No More
20. Time To Move On

Tracks 1, 3, 12 and 17 from Miss Thang (1995)
Tracks 4, 11, 15 and 18 from The Boy Is Mine (1998)
Tracks 2 and 19 from All Eyez On Me (2002)
Tracks 2, 8, 16 and 19 from After The Storm (2003)
Tracks 6, 10 and 13 from The Makings Of Me (2006)
Track 9 from Still Standing (2010)
Tracks 5 and 20 from New Life (2012)
Tracks 7 and 14 from Code Red (2015)

I had the biggest crush on Monica when I laid eyes on her in the "The Boy Is Mine" video as a 16-year-old, and I still do, really, I just adore her voice. I feel like it's kind of been forgotten just how big a star she was back then -- The Boy Is Mine had three singles go to #1 on the Hot 100, something that only happens to a handful of albums every decade, and has only been done recently by Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Even with Brandy having the assist on the first and biggest of those songs, that's a pretty big accomplishment, and she's had a pretty consistent career outside of that record. Even The Makings Of Me, the album where she kind of lost the plot and had Dem Franchize Boyz on the lead single, impressed me with its deep cuts. And her last album, Code Red, released last December, really had some jams on it, I wish it had done better commercially.

Monica recorded the album All Eyez On Me in 2002, but the pressure was on to follow up the biggest album of her career, and things weren't quite right. The title track underperformed on the charts, and then her label released the album in Japan so far ahead of the U.S. release date that widespread bootlegging of the album in America motivated them to reboot the entire project. So Monica went back into the studio and recorded some new songs into the project, including "So Gone" and other Missy Elliott collaborations, and After The Storm was released 7 months after All Eyes On Me debacle.

Missy Elliott has worked on every Monica album since After The Storm, and since she's a deep cuts MVP, I decided to do what I did with the Fantasia playlist and include a block of Monica's Missy collaborations on tracks 6 to 10. But this playlist is full of great work from writers and producers including Dallas Austin, Tim & Bob, Rodney Jerkins, Jazze Pha, Swizz Beatz, Pop & Oak, Polow Da Don and Danja. At a time when it feels like there are fewer and fewer R&B singers that are great with ballads and with uptempo tracks, it's great to hear Monica embrace such a variety of sounds on her albums with few bum notes.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
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