The Makings of Me (Deluxe)

The Makings of Me (Deluxe)

Even when Monica gets hurt, she holds on to a bit of composure. “Why Her,” a stellar breakup ballad on her fourth album, The Makings of Me, finds her coolly examining the wreckage, questioning how it happened, and assuring herself that her ex’s new relationship is “sure to fall” and that he’ll return sooner rather than later. A similar track, “Hell No,” finds her closer to throwing her cool away but still carrying a bit of self-respect. This Atlanta soul woman fortunately inhabits more peaceful scenarios, too: A lengthy Curtis Mayfield sample bookends the happy sentiments of “A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me),” “Doin’ Me Right” limns a street-romance utopia, and “Every Time the Beat Drops” is a leaned-back club banger with Dem Franchise Boyz aiding the star in assertive party mode. (She’s “not one of these too-bourgie broads,” Monica swears.) Almost every cut features a moment (or more) that points up her underrated vocal strength. This edition contains a bonus interview from shortly before the album’s release.

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