Moodring is the third studio album by American recording artistMýa Harrison. It was her last studio album for then joint record label A&M and Interscope Records, released on July 22, 2003 in the United States. Before Harrison began to work on what eventually would be her third studio album, she participated in prior engagements which would result in the blockbuster success of "Lady Marmalade", a collaboration for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, and a supporting role in the box office hit film Chicago.
Production on Moodring was primarily handled by an array of producers; Harrison enlisted the assistance of producers Ron Fair, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Rockwilder, Damon Elliott, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and a handful of others. With this album, Harrison wrote “99.9%” of her own lyrics and co-produced many of the album’s tracks. During the process of recording the album, Harrison funded her own studio time and used several songs she recorded two years ago from her archive of music.Moodring, in Harrison’s words is an experimental, somewhat bi-polar album with contemporary R&B/pop-influenced fusing jazz, techno, reggae, and hip-hop substance.
Moodring debuted at number three on Billboard 200 album chart with first week sales of 113,000 copies. This marked Harrison’s highest debut and first week sales yet. Upon its initial release, the album received generally positive reviews from music critics with AllMusic praising Harrison for coming up with her best and most varied set of songs yet. Two months after its release, the album earned a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. To date, it has sold roughly 589,000 copies.Moodring spawned two singles, including "My Love Is Like...Wo" and "Fallen", the former became a Top 40 hit globally. In August 2005, after five years with Interscope Records, Harrison decided to leave the company and her management.
Tricky Stewart produced two tracks on Harrison's third studio album Moodring (2003).
G-funk, reggae and a little bit of pop rock — Mýa has the blueprint for making an album, all she had to do was take her time. "Wrapping it up now," Mýa said last week in Los Angeles. "I haven't been really consistent [with recording]. I've been in and out of the studio, so shoot, I'm using some records I did maybe two years ago. I been in the studio every chance I get for the fun of it, and I realized, 'Hey, I need to start recording an album.' After that I pretty much realized I had 20 songs in my pocket. In real life the 22-year-old is a little peeved that some people still see her as a kid, but she said she's going to show her maturity on her forthcoming LP. "I've grown up and gone through some things, so I'm expressing what I feel," explained Mýa, who walked away with a Grammy for her part on "Lady Marmalade." "I'm a little bit more open than usual, and I've lived a life. I've had a career where I can live a comfortable life. I'm not Britney Spears, so I still have a life. I can go certain places without getting hounded by little 5-year-olds. So I'm very sane as a person. I've gone through relationships, gone through the normal things that a normal person would go through." Mýa said that despite the edginess of her project, people shouldn't be too shocked by her free spiritedword play and music. "It's well balanced," she proclaimed. "I'm not saying, 'F--- you, kiss my ass.' I'm not cursing all over my album, but it's real. I know lots of females that can appreciate where I'm coming from, and men too."
Lloyd Banks(left) and Sean Paul (right) both make guest appearances each on (Why You Gotta Look So Good?) and (Things Come & Go).
Unlike Fear of Flying (2000), which addressed somewhat superficial relationship issues, the new stuff is real and personal, largely because Mýa's writing her own lyrics this time, said Elliott, who produced six songs on the disc. "It's like when Pink stepped out with her second record," she explained. "She got to express herself a little more than she did on her first album. Mýa's grown up, and the things she's talking about deal more with real issues. It's not like someone coming in with a song that's already written, where the lyrics and music are from another person's perspective. We co-wrote the stuff that we did. So it's more from her." Like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, Mýa is dealing with more provocative subject matter these days. For example, one of two songs produced by Christopher "Tricky" Stewart is about fiery relationships on the road. Elliott said Mýa's lyrical development is not a shock tactic or an effort to keep up with her racy peers — it's more a sign of her own maturation and her interest in being honest and open.
"You keep it tight, hit me off how I like, every day, every night," she sings on the piano-powered "No Sleep," where she makes a 3 a.m. booty call to her man. "They say I'm shy, but you know that's a lie," she goes on to sing before further testifying about how good the love is with her mate. Mýa's words on "Anatomy One-on-One" might make you pat yourself on the forehead with a handkerchief, as she sings even steamier lyrics, vividly detailing a session of passion with her Mr. Do Right. "You found a position that turns me on," she gushes. "Temperature's hotter than fire/ And the heat has got me burning up/ Let's stop, drop and roll together." Unfortunately her flames are doused with a dose of reality that is as sobering as a cold shower on "Step." Here you can imagine the petite crooner getting set to put up her dukes as she complains about a girl who's trying to take her man. And you wouldn't believe it by Mýa's usually dainty behavior, but she can get down and dirty in a slugfest. She threatens to take off her heels and tells the jezebel that wants to break up her happy home, "I ain't got no time for the bullshhhh/ You should have a little respect 'cause if a girl is f---ing your man, you wouldn't like that." Mýa is "cold-blooded" after all, as she sings on the disco throwback "Sophisticated Lady," where she promises to make any man holla because she is the flyest of the fly. The playfully unabashed "Whatever Bitch" also steps outside the usual R&B soundscapes. That cut finds Mýa using house music to dismiss jealous girls who roll their eyes at her and want to spoil her partying. "They calling me a ho 'cause I'm trying to get my freak on," she scoffs. "But bitch, we're in a club, what the hell do you expect bitch?/ I worked too freaking hard to let a hata bring me down." But Mýa's biggest foe on Moodring may not be a woman — it could very well be the object of her affection. "Why You Gotta Look So Good?" tells the story of the songbird struggling to leave a bad relationship. G-Unit member Lloyd Banks guest stars on the track, rapping from the male perspective about the same woeful situation. "We both know if you put on some extra pounds I would have left a long time ago ..." Banks says. "I can't find good enough reason to try to hit the road .../ It's a shame how your female anatomy keeps grabbing me." "Mya can stand on her own," Elliott said. "Her album is gonna be off the chain. It's gonna be off the hook, man."
The opening track and the album's first single is "My Love Is Like...Wo", written and produced by Missy Elliott. The single reached the top twenty in the United States and the top forty elsewhere in countries like United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. It took Mýa 365 days (a whole year) before she decided to record the track because of its lyrics. Second single "Fallen", an elegant mid-tempo track, was produced by One Up Entertainment. The single was less successful than Mýa's first single and was the album's final release. "Why You Gotta Look So Good?", the album's third track was written and produced by Rockwilder and Mýa and features G-Unit member and then-labelmate Lloyd Banks. The song itself tells the story of a woman struggling to leave a bad relationship. The Timbaland-produced "Step" is the album's fourth track and was written by Elliot, Timbaland, and Mýa. "Sophisticated Lady", the album's fifth track, was produced by Mýa, Don Vito, and Tricky Stewart. It incorporates elements of Rick James's 1983 song "Cold Blooded". The piano-powered "No Sleep Tonight" is the album's sixth track and was produced by Tricky Stewart and Mýa. The song itself tells the story of Mýa making a 3 a.m. booty call to her man. Track seven "Anatomy 1on 1" was produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. It is one of Mýa's favorite tracks on the album and is consider bubble bath music. Hurry Up, is the album's eighth and was produced by DJ Clue and features Mýa's artist Gunz. The Jerome "Knobody" Foster-produced "Things Come & Go", is the album's ninth track and features reggae-dancehall musician Sean Paul. It incorporates elements of Shuggie Otis's "Aht Uh Mi Hed". "You", the album's first ballad and tenth track, was produced by One Up Entertainment. The song was considered as a single at one point by Mýa's record label Interscope. "After the Rain", the album's eleventh track, was produced by Jerome "Knobody" Foster. The song is a tribute to Aaliyah and Lisa Lopes. "Late", another Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced track, is the twelfth song on the album. The song tells the story of a woman who has not come on her period yet. "Whatever Bitch", is a drag queen anthem and the album's thirteenth track. Written and produced by Damon Elliott and Mýa, the song incorporates elements of techno music. "Taste This", the album's fourteenth track, was written by Mýa and produced by Jerome "Knobody" Foster. The song tells the story of a woman who is fed up with her lover half-stepping in their relationship and incorporates elements of quiet storm music. Track fifteen, "Take a Picture", was produced by Damon Elliott and written by pop rock singer Pink. The song was originally supposed to be featured on Pink's 2001 album Missundaztood but later was recorded by Mýa. "Free Fallin'" is a remake of the Tom Petty song from his 1989's album Full Moon Fever. "Real Compared to What" is the album's final track. It features then labelmate Common and was featured in Mýa's 2002 Coca-Cola commercial.
Moodring received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 63, based on 9 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".Allmusic’s Andy Kellman gave the album 4 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Mýa comes up with her best and most varied set of songs yet. The album's biggest highlights are almost completely different from one another, demonstrated right from the beginning; the opener, the strutting, boastful, Missy Elliott-produced 'My Love Is Like...Wo' is immediately followed by the yearning, elegant 'Falling.' Although the constant changes of direction can be a little jarring on the first couple plays, they eventually become one of the album's charms".
Entertainment Weekly’s writer Neil Drumming gave the album a B-, saying, "At best, Moodring exhibits some minor genre dabbling, but truthfully, Mýa's source material hasn't broadened much. Besides 'jacking Black Rob's whole 'like...whoa!' thing from three years ago, Mýa recycles an eight-year-old Pharcyde loop and pathetically plunders Jay-Z's round-the-clock motif from 'Do It Again' circa 1999." In speaking of Mýa’s voice he said, "Without a commanding voice to override such outdated overtures, Mýa's efforts sound strikingly out of touch." Although he did admit, "Harrison is at her most convincing when her mood turns nasty, whether she's berating a potential baby-daddy on 'Late,' ejecting a lowlife lover on 'Why You Gotta Look So Good?' or exacting sweet revenge on the RZA-like 'Taste This.' 'How would you feel,' she sneers on the last, 'if, when we're makin' love, I don't go down no more?' Now, that's 'whoa.'"
PopMatters’ Terry Sawyer gave Moodring a score of four out of ten stars and wrote, "For the most part, Moodring sinks like a stone. Declaring, the album is mixed to her disadvantage. On previous outings, with tighter pop sensibility intact, I never noticed how thin Mýa’s voice sounds; commenting on her ballad “You” saying it drips like a snotty nose in fat cheesy slabs of lounge underreach, an R. Kelly jam for people with Barbie crotches. It’s supposed to be sexy and yearning, but it doesn’t rise to the sincerity of a soap opera. She continued by stating without the vocal acrobatics, the slower numbers serve only to highlight the squeaky fringe of her voice, the kind of hollow shower range that only Madonna can pull off by launching the red herrings of her extra-musical celebrity. Sawyer added when Harrison does kicks it up, there are plenty of glimpses to what sort of chart conqueror she could easily be. “Late” struts forward on a giant stride of a beat, with Mýa working her vocals in clipped, half-jazz cadence that conveys a sense of absolute control. What’s more, it has to be the only dance song ever about missing your period and thinking you’re pregnant. It’s flashy, strident and just the kind of originality that trumps her peers. Similarly, “Whatever Bitch” camps around on a breakneck club thunk that outpaces your body’s ability to follow. It’s destined to played at unspeakable volumes in your car stereo. Moodring single, “My Love Is Like...Wo” shifts through on a lazier beat, but with all the back up harmonies and the instantly unforgettable chorus, it works just as well as some of the more outright speaker thumpers. On tracks like this, her voice is more effectively encased, tripped through an almost reggae beat with the rhythm zagging “Wo” singers weaving in and out throughout."
Moodring debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 album chart and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart at number two with first-week sales of 113,000 units sold. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on September 25, 2003 and remained on Billboard 200 album chart for 18 non-consecutive weeks. Moodring has sold 589,000 copies in the United States alone, according Nielsen Soundscan. The album was the 157th best-selling album of 2003 in the United States. Outside the United States, the album debuted or peaked at number #197 in the United Kingdom, #25 in Canada, and #74 in Australia. Internationally, the album was not as successful as 2000's Fear of Flying.
Moodring debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 album chart, with first-week sales of 113,000 copies. In its second, the album dropped 6 spots to number 9, selling 59,700 copies. In its third week, the album dropped 4 spots to number 13, selling 39,690 copies. In its fourth week, the album dropped 10 spots to number 23, selling 34,638. In its fifth week, the album dropped to 17 spots to number 40, selling 25,891 copies. In its sixth week, the album dropped to 2 spots to number 42, selling 20,041. In its seventh week, the album moved up 3 spots to number 39, selling 22,197 copies. In its eighth week, the album dropped to number 64 and fell out of Billboard's Top 50. After ten weeks of its release, the album sat at number 85 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of 500,000 copies to retailers on September 25, 2003. On the Billboard 200 album chart, the album spent a total of 18 non-consecutive weeks.
Internationally, the album reached four countries. It debuted and peaked at number 74 on the Australian Albums Chart. It failed to move up on United Kingdom's Top 75 album chart, spending one week below the chart; peaking at number 197. It debuted and peaked at number 25 on the Canadian Albums Chart. It debuted and peaked at number 53 on the Japan Oricon Albums Chart.
The first single from the album, "My Love Is Like...Wo", peaked at number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number seventeen on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The single was a commercial success due to its success on mainstream radio and became Mýa's fifth top forty hit (solo). It was a moderate success internationally, reaching the top forty in the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia.
The second single "Fallen" peaked at number fifty-one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number thirty-five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The single was a commercial failure due to poor radio airplay and lack of promotion.
Vocal assistance: Patrice Bowie, Sue Ann Carwell, Eric Dawkins, Laurie Evans, Katrina Willis
Engineers: Mike Anzel, Dylan Dresdow, Bruce Buechner, Randy Bugnitz, Ian Cross, Jimmy Douglass, David Guerrero, Tal Herzberg, Troy Hightower, Pete Karam, Brian Summerville, Brian "B Luv" Thomas, Ryan West, Doug Wilson, Frank Wolf