After The Storm presents a different aspect of Monica's musicality, displaying the...
Lewis Dene 2003
With her first two albums amassing sales of over ten million copies, its little wonder the illustrious Grammy winner was in no rush to deliver After The Storm. In the public eye for almost half of her twenty-two years, Monica also sees this collection as defining herself and maturing - not only as an artist, but from a girl into a woman.
Helping her to answer some of life's questions is Missy Elliott, who worked on four tracks, including the infectious 70s soul groove, and lead single, "So Gone". Monica raps on this track and also on "Knock Knock"; however, like Madonna, her vocal dexterity is best served singing rather than on the lyrical wordology. Missy's other contributions include the standout "I Wrote This Song", and feel-good party vibes of "Get It Off".
After The Storm also presents a different aspect of Monica's musicality, displaying the creative growth she has experienced since her sophomore album The Boy Is Mine, which yielded the eponymous chart-topping duet with Brandy. This new-found maturity and strength is perfectly highlighted on the Jermaine Dupri-produced "U Should've Known Betta", while you can tell from the title alone that she's already in defiant mood on "Aint Gonna Cry No More".
Ballads are obviously part of her healing process, with almost half of the album's output falling into slow jam territory they include heartfelt jams like "Go To Bed Mad" (her duet with label mate Tyrese), and the beat ballad "Dont Gotta Go Home" (which features DMX's no fairytale rap).
There is little doubt that After The Storm does indeed showcase a more mature sound from the Atlanta-born singer, and even allowing for her still relatively young age, her commanding style really does belie her youth.