Monica’s “Code Red” Album Proves R&B Music is Still Standing

Growing up as a child in the 90’s, I had the joy of listening to great music in all forms. Unlike today’s sound, with repetitive lyrics and empty value, music 20+ years ago had meaning and captured the essence of true soul. As a child, my siblings and I eagerly anticipated nightly countdown shows with music videos on BET. The art of the music video doesn’t exactly have the same effect in 2015. Back then, it was one of the only ways to see a singer’s various form of talent outside of the music.

Monica’s star quality immediately grabbed my attention and still captivates me, 20 years after her debut album, “Miss Thang”.

I remember singing every word of every Monica song as if she and I were having our own dialogue. I rocked with her when she was taking things personal and searching for an angel to call her own. Monica’s lyrics were similar to my own journey through adolescence.

When the “Code Red Experience” tour stopped in Charlotte, you already know I was in the building.

“Baby that’s just why I love you so much…” #monica #codered

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“Before you walk out my life” My absolute favorite song

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As she discussed her motivation for her new album Code Red, Monica made it plain and clear about her intention to bring back real music. Immediately we had another thing in common.

I too miss REAL music!!!


Now don’t get it twisted, I listen to a little bit of the new music, but very few and far in between. I would rather listen to an old school radio station or pop in one of my CDs from the 90s and 2000s. So I was extra amped when I found out that Monica had a new album coming out.

“Code Red” is a listening experience like no other.

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In an interview with Essence Magazine, Monica said, “I think that R&B music is borderline extinct at this point. Code Red is just me saying, ‘We’re in a state of emergency as far as R&B music goes.’ It’s time for us to get back fighting for a genre that we all love. I miss music with a message, music with a melody, music that’s just well created with great artists and great musicians.”

She seized every opportunity in this album, showcasing her talent as an R&B artist with great staying power. In her first song on the album, Monica attests that music isn’t the same because artists are so focused on crossing over for money versus putting energy into taking chances for the sake of real music. Code Red is also sprinkled with collaborations ranging from a variety of producers and artists including Missy Elliott, Timberland, Lil Wayne, Akon, and her daughter Laiyah. I promise you can play the album straight through without skipping a track. My favorite tracks are, Love Just Ain’t Enough, Saints & Sinners, and Anchor. Listening to the depth of Monica’s soul in each and every track, sums up the artistry built over the span of her entire career. For instance, there are songs on Code Red that reminds me of Miss Thang and After the Storm, only time she’s much stronger and wiser.

If you are a Monica fan…scratch that. If you are a die-hard R&B fan, I strongly suggest you pick up Code Red. You ears will thank you later.

Is R&B loosing its essence or has the sound just changed? Tell us in the comments section about the state of soul music.


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Crystal Starkes
Starkey is a youth program director by day and writer at night. She enjoys giving, writing, and making a difference in the lives of others. You can find her at Being Starkey. Instagram: @beingstarkey

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