Brandy & Monica Drop New Singles, but Are They Enough?

Remember back in the day when it was all about Brandy versus Monica, and Aaliyah won? Well, with Babygirl sadly out of the picture, nowadays B-Rocka and Miss Thang are left to duke it out in the imaginary slapboxing match in my head, but neither has seemingly had much fight in her lately. However, now both twenty-something singers are returning with new albums in separate attempts to regain the championship belt.

If this were 1998 and I heard that Brandy and Monica had new albums on the horizon, I would've been waiting like a fiend for them to drop. But in '08, not so much. The last releases from both artists--Monica's 2006 release The Makings of Me and Brandy's Afrodisiac in 2004--left a bad taste in my ear. I suppose every artist is allowed one bad album in their career (anything more that and they get the gas face), but both of them were better than that weak material. And unlike some R&B broads who couldn't sing a lick and took over on the charts during their absence, Brandy and Monica have talent for days, which made their fall off even worse. 

With their official first singles now released, both artists are trying to turn their setbacks into comebacks. Brandy's "Right Here (Departed)" and Monica's "Still Standing" feature both vocalists in top form with their respective signature vocals but still sounding current. I happen to like both songs, but it remains to be seen if Brandy and Monica can regain their positions on the charts and in heavy rotation on everyone's iPod and not just mine. This is some of the best material I've heard come from either singer's respective corners in a long while. I'm glad to see that in their fight to get back on top, Brandy and Monica are coming out swinging.

Brandy: "Right Here (Departed)"

Monica feat. Ludacris: "Still Standing"

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34 Responses

  1. hahahahaha@ the first line, Butta. But really has Monica ever had a good album? Can you tell I have nothing to do at work....

  2. In my opinion, neither of these chicks ever fell off in terms of quality. Afrodisiac was Brandy's finest work and Monica's Makings of Me was excellent, also. They may have lost some fans because they can't grasp the fact that in the 21st century, you can't disappear for four years and come back all of a sudden expecting warm hugs and kisses.
    The new Brandy track is very nice. The hook is incredibly catchy and it really sounds like old school Bran Bran. I would've chosen "Fall" as the first single, but that's just me. Or maybe not. "Fall" kinda sounded like a Keyshia Cole joint. Of course, Keyshia gets 50% of her inspiration from Ms. Norwood, but a lot of the youngins wouldn't know and would accuse of swagger jacking. "Right Here" is undeniably Brandy.
    I like "Still Standing." I love how she puts her struggles into the music, but there are two problems about the cut that will make it divisive, especially among her earlier fans. 1) The track is too hip-hop and does not show off her vocals, which was the complaint from Mo fanatics of the last album. So why she would release a single that embodies all the reasons for disappoinment among fans last go-round, is beyond me. Let's face it, at the end of the day... the "Angel of Mine," "Don't Take It Personal," and "So Gone" fans are the ones that will be rushing to the stores, and if they're let down twice in a row... it's a wrap! 2) Simple: the song sounds very very similar to Mariah Carey's "Side Effects," especially production-wise. The track also sounds "trendy."
    Overall, though, I think both singles are strong, at least to me. We'll just have to wait and see how things pan out.

  3. That first line is pure genius. As for these two, Brandy got better and better while Monica took a flying projectile leap into mediocrity and irrelevance. Shame, since Monica always seemed to have better chops.

  4. Show me Aaliyah won in the charts...

  5. Aaliyah won? DEAAAADDD!
    Brandy sold more albums than Aaliyah and Monica.
    Brandy has sold 10.5 million albums in the USA, Aaliyah 9 million and Monica 7;5 million. Check your figures before saying bullshit!

  6. To Mizphit, Clouds & anyone else who wants to flex, please check yourself before you wreck yourself. I wasn't even thinking about the charts when I made that statement. Because if you really want to go there, Britney Spears sold more than all of them combined, so your point is?
    Now if you'll excuse me, I have more important things to do than talk shit on blogs on a Friday night.

  7. LOL @ Butta! Shoo, this is an Aaliyah household! "YES WE CAN!!

  8. Brandy, Monica Aaliyah...those were the days.
    I like both songs also...Brandy's song is addictive. Monica's reality show made me appreciate her song. I really want to see both these ladies reclaim success.

  9. I guess on that Aaliayh comment, she'd be in the same boat if she hadn't passed. I like all three of these ladies, but I do feel that Brandy crafted better LPs of the three of them. The honors bestowed to Aaliyah, no disrespect, can be a bit much. She was great and had much potential but I think she suffered from structuring decent albums that could hold outside of the singles released from them.
    I do agree that out of the four of Brandy's albums, "Afrodisiac" was the weakest, but it had some glowing moments. I've enjoyed the new single and the leaked song from these new album sessions such as "Sweet Nothings" have been promising. Go Bran!

  10. Well said Butta.
    Both singles are really strong. I look forward to hearing their albums.

  11. please!!! aaliyah way in hell where are you gettin yo info?aaliyah wasnt hardly as big as brandy she hasnt sold as much as her nor has she had endorsements like brandy and movies so clearly brandy kills both of them...

  12. and what the hell do britney gotta do wit this she is in a whole different just sayin anything now aaliyah wasnt hot when she was out she was just ok her vocals suck she has no technique what so ever......and afrodisiac was hott keyshia cole, rihanna, and kelly rowland all love that album and said they wanna make albums just like it....check yo facts!

  13. Eww. This post attracted a lot of flies, i.e., stans from that forum. The Aaliyah thing was a joke. Lighten up.
    Should we start making people apply to comment and make sure they're over 30 years-old? Because this shit is ridiculous!

  14. I like Monica's single much better! But Brandy's was alright.

  15. I've always been a bigger BRandy fan than Monica for the simple fact that Brandy grew up and material went with her. Monica still making these ghetto albums even with kids her material still hasn't changed. Oh yea I LOVED Afrodisiac.

  16. Sorry, I'll apologize in advance for upsetting the SB writers (but discourse is actually a great thing), but I will stand on a mountain top and say that Aaliyah got bigger after her passing and a whole lotta praise was heaped on her afterwards that wasn't heaped on her while she was here.
    At that time, she was no where near as popular an artist as Brandy/Monica. Even if we go with the proposition that they both started to fall w/ the release of their 3rd albums, neither of them released those albums until 02 after she had already passed. It's not even just about record sales bc a lot of people sale records who suck but even if you look at that Aaliyah's first album didn't go double until after she passed. Whenever I used to have this discussion with people in the early 2000s they would then say well yeah but she was on her way to superstardome before she passed away and my response to that is always that right before it's release that album wasn't getting good reviews - they were mediocore at best and I remember a particular one (it may have been Vibe but I can't say for sure ) saying something to the effect of a bad janet impersionation. I understand that there were people who adored her and that's cool but I personally think that her talent and musicla contribution has gotten exagerated in her passing. should I expect to get banned, I hope not, lol I really do love SB

  17. No banning for you, Law Diva. We thrive on discourse and appreciate your well thought out comment to back up your argument. It's when riff raff rolls up in here talking out the side of their neck and acting the plum fool when we have a problem. Carry on!

  18. Brandy has NEVER released a bad album. Afrodisiac was a good cd with a poor singles. I TRIED. FOCUS. SHOULD I GO. Are among Brandy's BEST songs (notwithstanding WHERE ARE YOU NOW which is my absolute favorite). The difference between Brandy and Monica is that Brandy has consistently put out great material. FULL MOON was clearly ahead of its time. Monica's albums have been getting worse with each release. She has such a beautiful tone and range, but rarely uses it. When is the last time Monica "sang"? "For You I Will"! over 10 years ago. I wish them both the best because I am a fan of both.


  20. Monica can get her spot back but Brandy has a long way to go but i love both, Monica more

  21. I love Monica she will be around for years to come like Glady Knights.


  23. @ LEO, dmole, lisa & KRAIG...
    Thanks for having Monica's back in this debate, but we know that you're the same person. Men lie, women lie, but IP addresses don't.

  24. wow, this has been entertaining.. a bit ignorant, but entertaining nontheless.
    I think there is a way to express yourself, and there are a lot of people that were going about it the wrong way. I would agree that Aaliyah received a lot more praise after she passed than before. She was the sweet, beautiful, "angel" of hip hop/ r&b and she never tried to be like Brandy or Monica. Her voice was more soft and beautiful than powerful, and that attributed to the appeal. But I think everyone is getting caught up in the first two lines of this blog and are missing the point: the new singles by Brandy and Monica. Personally, its gonna take me a minute to warm back up to them, cuz its been so long. But the new Brandy joint is hott!

  25. Lawd, put this in the record books: the first time i've disagreed with Butta. Say it aint so!
    I loved Aaliyah like a play cousin, but I definitely have never considered her the winner when it comes to Brandy or Monica. Yes, onica has consistently disappointed me with her ghetto anthems, but the chic can still sing, no matter how wack her recent albums have been. Brandy can sing, as well, and I actually have loved all of her albums, especially Afrodisiac. Aaliyah had great music, but she couldnt sing live. She had great style, could dance and was pretty, but vocal talent...hmmm, no! lol
    Anyway, Im excited for Brandy. Monica's song is cute, but I can still feel her leaning too much on hip hop, which really isnt a good idea. But thats just my opinion.

  26. For once and for all:
    Butta made the Aaliyah reference in passing to jokingly undermine the perceived rivalry between Brandy and Monica. Folks took that and ran with it. A lof of the times, we do our best to spice up our entries and make them entertaining. Sometimes we do that by being self-referential, or by making pop culture references and non-sequitors. We don't mean to confuse people.

  27. I'm digging the Brandy cut. the Monica is aight. I want to like Monica's more since she CLEARLY is the better vocalist, but like others said, she just hasn't had many BANGERS, and often leans to the hip hop side more than she should--I mean Keyshia Cole has practically replaced Monica as the R&B hood chick....she needs to create a new style, if its possible. I did like some songs all of her CD's but I absolutely loved Brandy's last Afrodisiac. it was great, to me. I'll be checking for both of these girls though, since I grew up with them basically. but yeah, as far as swag, Aaliyah did shut both down, even though she was the weakest vocally.....those Timbo beats are what set her off. Brandy's bangers came from Jerkins and Monica??? she needs someone to give her some hits....

  28. It is sad that making a record has to be about competition. All of these ladies each have their own personal STYLE so that is what makes them all unique but the MONICA song is inspirational so that is why black people aren't feeling it but I am defintely feeling it because it is a positive song and of course Monica vocals have always been stronger than Brandy's anyway and I will always support her because she is from the A-TOWN and we have to support our people. Monica keep doing what you do and to put a deceased person in the mix for WHAT?? Let Aaliyah rest in peace. When she was here it was her time and now it's God's time to hear her sing. Support whomever you want but stop being negative!!!!

  29. The Monica song sucks. I love the Brandy one.

  30. All this talk about Aaliyah being over-rated needs to stop. I love all these girls but let's be honest Aaliyah's platinum debut Age Ain't Nothing But A #, did pave the way for Brandy, Monica and Mya.
    Secondly Aaliyah was an amazing vocalist. She was not a Whitney Houston. IF you have any questions to her vocal ability you need to listen to "At Your Best" especially the accapella intro. That song is like on every slow jam compilation. She also tears it up on "Giving Up" as well as "The One I Gave My Heart To" and she blew on the OScars when she sang Journey 2 the past.
    TO the person that said her final album "Aaliyah" did not garner much critical praise until after her passing, you need to check your facts. Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+, Rolling Stone nearly gave it 5 out of 5 starts, Slant Magazine online gave it a good review and so did TIme Magazine.
    The reason Aaliyah didn't chart high was because her label rarely if ever released her singles in commercial form. One in a million, are u that somebody and try again were never released for purchase so they had to chart on airplay alone. Until 2001 a song could not chart on billboard if it wasn't released as a purchase, but when they finally did let songs not released commercially chart guess which artist had the first song go to #1 on radio airplay alone on the hot 100??? Aaliyah with Try again thank you! R u that somebody blew up radio in 98 and would have went to #1 if it had been released.
    Also a lot of hip hop heads had aaliyah albums, it was cool for guys to have an aaliyah cd.
    I love all 3 of these ladies but let's give aaliyah her respect as she did change the game with one in a million and introducing timb and missy!!!
    I love the new Brandy single and I am happy she is back with Rodney. Monica has been going downhill with her last few releases, she need's to get back with Dallas Austin!
    Bring it on im sure they boy is still theirs!

  31. U bums are sad.
    sure, Brandy was bigger than Aaliyah in the 90's, but Brandy was a HUGE Aaliyah STAN. also, Aaliyah surpassed Brandy AND MONICA in 2001, in terms of popularity. Aaliyah's song broke a record, she was casted in SEVERAL movies, and her album was doing decently well. where was Brandy and Monica in the 2000 milennium? they were sittin @ home STRUGGLING for a hit single while Aaliyah sat back and did it with EASE.
    Aaliyah- the singer who BIRTHED Brandy and Monica.

  32. the brandy single is really good but i dont think it will bring in new fans to the fold. if she had a show on tv right now i think this record would sell well. too bad she is not on america got talent any more.
    even though she is not as popular anymore i am seriously looking forward to Brandys new cd becuase she has never disappoints the people that buy her records. THIS WOMAN HAS NEVER MADE A STINKY RECORD. even though NEVER SAY NEVER is no recognised as the best album of 1998 and one of the top ten albums of the 90's BELIEVE IT.
    If you have any ears and know a thing or two about music (vocal arrangements, musical arrangement, producing) you will agree that Brandy isnt given the credit she is due.
    Now on to Monica. That single is not that good at all. I love this girl and i am pulling for her but its just not what monica fans expect from her. I am wondering is she puposely trying to make bad music!?
    Her first three albums were good. not Brandy good but good, then she put out makings of me (the worst R and B record of all time)
    what kills me is this girl can sing her butt off way better singer than brandy but brandy puts out goood records. way bettter singer than mary j blige but mary puts out good records.
    i just dont understand it!?
    anyway I wish brandy the best the song is great but just not what the young kids are looking for these days. i hope this is not another record like full moon that had soo much potential but was not used correctly.
    what about us was one of the hottest songs that year but the video had like no dancing in it and made no sense.
    songs like "can we and nobody" were left on the cd when the woudda been hot singles instead "full moon" is relased dont get me wrong a good song but best left on the cd.
    with this new single i think its great but best left on a cd
    monica i wish you the best but young kids can tell fake hood and that you. stick to songs like "breaks my heart and angel of mine" this is what you do best.
    i am hoping this new cd is not makings of me pt. 2

  33. I LOVE Brandy and Monica so glad they're coming back!!! Brandy is a great actress but girl you need to give us your music too. Do some soft gospel! You guys will hit the roof, thats what this world needs and if you two deliver I guarantee people will take notice and comend you for it. You should write a song about being so low, hooked on drugs and alcohol and then to find redemption and be changed forever and so grateful to even be alive. Don"t matter how old you are you can change your life and realize how wonderful life really is. Letting God guide you for the rest of your days! People need to here this stuff cuz there is just too much hurt going on because of all the drugs and crap you know. Thanks keep on doin what your doin cuz the two of you are true inspirations. Get out there more we all love you guys so much!!!!

  34. Aaliyah did win she was the best bye far and she was gonna be so big its a shame shes gone
    i think Monica has a better voice then Brandy but Brandy normaley has better music then her but i like Monica's boy is mine CD more then any Brandy CD. but all other Brandy albums that came out around the same time besides Never Say Never still love that CD were better then Monica's. Brandys song here is again better then Monica's i wish Monica could make songs like Angel Of Mine again but w.e i still get her CD because the music ani't bad Aaliyah Brandy and Monica are all better then people on the Radio today im only 16 but i love 90's music and i know my shit RIP Aaliyah u were the boom