Miss Thang

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Miss Thang
Monica-miss-thang.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 18, 1995 (1995-07-18)
Recorded1993–1995[1]
Genre
Length69:33
Label
Producer
Monica chronology
Miss Thang
(1995)
The Boy Is Mine
(1998)
Singles from Miss Thang
  1. "Don't Take It Personal"
    Released: April 10, 1995
  2. "Before You Walk Out of My Life"
    Released: August 3, 1995
  3. "Like This and Like That"
    Released: February 13, 1996
  4. "Why I Love You So Much"
    Released: May 21, 1996

Miss Thang is the debut studio album by American R&B recording artist Monica. It was released by Rowdy Records and distributed through the Arista label on July 18, 1995 in the United States. Recorded throughout her early teenage years, the album was conceived under the guidance of Rowdy head Dallas Austin who would emerge as a tutor and father figure to Monica and serve as Miss Thang's sole executive producer. Incorporating a wide range of contemporary genres such as soft hip hop soul, contemporary mid-1990s R&B, pop and adult contemporary sounds, Dallas recruited protégés from his DARP production camp such as Tim & Bob, Arnold Hennings, and Colin Wolfe as well as Daryl Simmons, and Soulshock & Karlin to work with her on the album.

Upon release, Miss Thang received generally mixed to positive reviews from music critics, who complimented Monica's versatility and mature sound appearance, as well as the album's eclectic number of songs. A steady seller, the album became a commercial success as well. It debuted and peaked at number 36 of the Billboard 200 and reached the top ten on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in the United States, where it was certified three-times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and sold over 1.5 million copies.[2] Internationally, it earned Gold status in Canada, where it reached number 20 on RPM's Top Albums/CDs chart,[3] and peaked at number nine on the New Zealand Albums Chart, her highest peak as of 2018.[4]

Four singles were released from the album, including debut single "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and follow-up "Before You Walk Out of My Life", both of which made Monica the youngest artist ever to have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart and became top ten hits in New Zealand.[5] With her further two singles, "Like This and Like That" and "Why I Love You So Much" also reaching the top three on the Hot R&B Songs, Monica, along with fellow teen singers Aaliyah and Brandy, established herself as one of the most successful urban R&B female vocalists to emerge during the mid-to late 1990s. It also earned her four Soul Train Music Awards nods as well as American Music Award and Billboard Music Award nominations each.

Background and production[edit]

In 1992, after winning a series of local talent contests, Monica was introduced to music producer Dallas Austin. Impressed by her voice and persona after hearing her perform Whitney Houston's 1986 hit single "Greatest Love of All", Dallas offered her a record deal with his Arista-distributed label Rowdy Records at the age of 12.[1] A teacher and growing father figure, Austin became instrumental in tutoring the young singer, while executive producing her debut album under the Rowdy rooster.[6] A breakaway from regular teenage life, he would often pick her up after school and whisk her off to a music studio most evenings.[6] Austin also consulted Flavor Unit, owned rapper Queen Latifah, to serve as Monica's management and arranged recording sessions with his in-house protégés Arnold Hennings, Tim & Bob, and Colin Wolfe for her debut.[7] In addition, Carsten Schack and Kenneth Karlin from Danish production duo Soulshock & Karlin would hand in their yet-unreleased song "Before You Walk Out of My Life, a leftover from Toni Braxton's second studio album Secrets (1996), for Monica to record.[8]

With much of the album being recorded during her years of 1993 and 1995, her teenage years, Monica has described the period as hard work: "It was more from the stress I put on myself than it was pressure from others," she said. "There were so many young artists releasing records, and I wanted to stand out. I was a regular female growing up in the inner city, and I wanted to be who I was."[1] Throughout the recording process, Arnold ensured the album's music and lyrical content reflected her persona. As a result, she vetoed some of the songs selected for the album. "I was very assertive in making sure the album was really me," she said in an interview with Billboard. "How can you show your feeling in a song when it's about something you don't know about?"[9] Commenting on the album title, Monica later elaborated: “Dallas [Austin] would bring producers in the studio to play records for me and I’d be quick to say ‘No’ if I didn’t feel it. I knew who I was and what I wanted to say. That’s where Miss Thang came from. He’d say, ‘Miss Thang don’t like it!’."[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3/5 stars[11]
Billboard(favorable)[12]
The Los Angeles Times2/4 stars[13]
NME(4/10)[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2.5/5 stars[15]

Miss Thang received generally mixed to positive reviews from music critics. Billboard complimented the album for its "strong, today-styled hip-hop and R&B melodies" and Monica's singing versatility. The magazine noted that the "clever production maintains set's overall high energy, while remaining secondary to singer's vocals – creating a youthful, but eclectic 16 tracks."[12] In his review for Allmusic, editor Craig Lytle rated the album three out of five stars and wrote that "the album focuses on hip-hop and contemporary urban cuts, including a pair of R&B chart-toppers." He felt that "in spite of her youthful age, Monica conveys a surprisingly mature sound."[11] The New York Times's Kevin Sack found that "producer Dallas Austin injected this debut album with plenty of attitude."[16]

The Los Angeles Times writer Connie Johnson wrote that "fourteen-year-old Monica is the best teen singer to come along since, well, Brandy. While "Don't Take It Personal," an urban radio staple, only hints at her abilities, she tackles Latimore's old-school classic "Let's Straighten It Out" with all the clear-eyed assertiveness of an R&B veteran. Miss Thang indeed."[13] Christian Hoard, writing for The Rolling Stone Album Guide, called Miss Thang "an assured, streetwise amalgam of soul, pop, hip-hop, and blues". While he found praise for the up-tempo songs on the album, Hoard was less impressed with "the record's many soppy, MOR ballads" such as "Before You Walk Out of My Life".[15] In November 2017, Complex magazine ranked the album 23rd on its The 50 Best R&B Albums of the '90s listing. In his retrospective review, editor Justin Charity wrote that "at 15, Monica dropped a debut that's as tender-loving and mature as her R&B elders; though she's less funky than Janet Jackson, Monica stepped correct with New Jack confidence on Miss Thang."[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted and peaked at number 36 on the US Billboard 200 and at number seven on Billboard's Top R&B Albums charts with first week sales of 31,500 units.[18] In the United States, it scored a domestic sales total of about 1.5 million copies,[2] and was eventually certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for more than 3 million copies shipped to stores.[19] In 1995, Billboard ranked Miss Thang 65th on its Top R&B Albums year-end chart, while the magazine ranked it 22nd the following year.[20][21] In Canada, the album peaked at number 20 on RPM's Top Albums/CDs chart. With sales in excess of 50,000 copies, it earned a gold certification from the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) in 1995.[3] Elsewhere, Miss Thang reached peaked at number 42 on the Dutch MegaCharts and number nine on the New Zealand Albums Chart, Monica's highest peak on the latter chart as of 2018. In addition, it reached number 24 on the UK R&B Albums, according to the Official Charts Company (OCC).[4]

The album was supported by four singles. Debut single "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became a top ten hot in Austria and New Zealand, where it ranks among Monica's highest-charting singles.[4] Follow-up "Before You Walk Out of My Life," released on a double-A-side with "Like This and Like That" became a top ten hit in the US and, along with "Don't Take It Personal" made Monica, at the age of 14, the youngest recording artist to have two consecutive number-one hits on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs.[22] Ballad "Why I Love You So Much," released together with "Ain't Nobody," a collaboration with Treach from American hip hop trio Naughty by Nature, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1996 motion picture The Nutty Professor, became another top ten entry in the year of 1996.[4]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Miss Thang"Dallas AustinAustin3:52
2."Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)"Austin4:18
3."Like This and Like That" (featuring Mr. Malik)
  • Austin
  • Colin Wolfe
  • Gabriel Jackson
  • Austin
  • Wolfe
4:41
4."Get Down"Tim & Bob4:22
5."With You"
  • Kelley
  • Robinson
Tim & Bob4:50
6."Skate"
  • Austin
  • Wolfe
  • Albert Hudson
  • Jonathan Meadows
  • Dave Roberson
  • Glenda Hudson
  • Gregory Greene
  • Terry Morgan
  • Theodore Dudley
Wolfe4:26
7."Angel"Arnold HenningsHennings4:44
8."Woman in Me (Interlude)"
  • Kelley
  • Robinson
Tim & Bob1:36
9."Tell Me If You Still Care"
  • Tim & Bob
  • Austin (co.)
4:45
10."Let's Straighten It Out" (featuring Usher)Austin4:25
11."Before You Walk Out of My Life"Soulshock & Karlin4:53
12."Now I'm Gone"
  • Kelley
  • Robinson
Tim & Bob4:39
13."Why I Love You So Much"Daryl SimmonsSimmons4:30
14."Never Can Say Goodbye"HenningsHennings5:02
15."Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days) (Remix)"
  • Austin
  • Arnold
  • Simmons
  • Willie James Baker
  • David Townsend
  • David Conley
  • Derrick Culler
Austin3:50
16."Forever Always"HenningsHennings4:40
Samples credits

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits for the liner notes adapted from Miss Thang.[23]

Instruments and performances

  • Colin Wolfe – bass
  • Kenneth Crouch – piano
  • Derrick Edmondson – flute, saxophone, horn
  • Tommy Martin – guitar
  • Derek Organ – drums
  • Sandy Lawrence – art direction
  • Tim Kelley – producer, arranger, drum programming, keyboards,
  • Bob Robinson – keyboard, product
  • Dallas Austin, Ron Gresham, Ron Gresham, Michael Patterson, Darin Prindle – mixing

Technical and production

  • Debra Killings, Monica, Lysette Titi, Usher – vocal assistance
  • Naim Ali, Dallas Austin, Caron Veazey – creative director
  • Arvel McClinton III – programming

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[32] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ewey, Melissa (September 1, 1998). "Monica: Miss Thang Grows Up". Ebony. FindArticles.com. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  2. ^ a b "Monica Has a Fresh Start on RCA With 'New Life'". Billboard. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Canadian album certifications – Monica – Miss Thang". Music Canada.
  4. ^ a b c d "Artist Chart History – Monica – Singles". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved April 12, 2009.
  5. ^ Bland, Bridget (2009-10-25). "Monica: Still Standing With New BET Reality Show And Forthcoming Music". Entertainment Newsire. Archived from the original on 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
  6. ^ a b Samuels, Anita (February 20, 1996). Cool, calm, collected by limo. The Independent. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Samuels, Anita (June 20, 1998). Sharing A Hit Duet, Arista's Monica Finds Her Own Voice On Boy. Billboard. Google Books. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  8. ^ "Andrea Martin Gives The Stories Behind Her Songs with Blu Cantrell, Tracey Spencer & Toni Braxton". KempireRadio (YouTube). Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Reynolds, J.R. (March 25, 1995). Rowdy/Arista Debuts The Confident Voice Of 14-Year-Old Rapper Monica. Billboard. Google Books. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  10. ^ Monica Covers Uptown Magazine. SandraRose.com. January 26, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Lytle, Craig. Miss Thang – Monica at AllMusic. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Album Reviews". Billboard. August 19, 1995. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Album Reviews : ** Monica, "Miss Thang," Rowdy/Arista". The Los Angeles Times. July 22, 1995. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Lewis, Angela (September 30, 1995). "Review: Monica – Miss Thang". NME. IPC Media: 53. ISSN 0028-4955.
  15. ^ a b Hoard, Christian. "The Rolling Stone Album Guide". Rolling Stone: 553. November 2, 2004.
  16. ^ Sack, Kevin (March 8, 1998). "POP/JAZZ; In the New South, an Heir to Motown". The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  17. ^ "The 50 Best R&B Albums of the '90s". Complex. November 15, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  18. ^ Faison, Datu (August 1, 1998). "Rhythm Section". Billboard. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Basham, David (March 14, 2002). "Got Charts? The Long Road To #1 — And Those Who Rocked It". MTV News. Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  20. ^ a b "R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: Year End 1995". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  21. ^ a b "R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: Year End 1996". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  22. ^ Christian, Margena A. (July 28, 2003). "Monica: Shares Life's Lessons On New CD After The Storm". Jet. FindArticles.com. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  23. ^ Miss Thang (liner notes). Monica. Rowdy. 1995. 75444-37006-2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  24. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 2760". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  25. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Monica – Miss Thang" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  26. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Monica – Miss Thang". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  27. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  28. ^ "Monica Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  29. ^ "Monica Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  30. ^ "Billboard 200: Year End 1995". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2017-11-11.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  31. ^ "Billboard 200: Year End 1996". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  32. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Monica – Miss Thang". Music Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Monica – Miss Thang". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2017-03-29. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]