Monica, "Still Standing"
Monica is all grown up. And much like her BET reality show "Still Standing," the 29-year-old's latest album of the same name cements her place as a mature R&B singer. On the song "One in a Lifetime," over violin strings, she praises her lover: "The love you've given me is equal to 10." Monica flips the script on "Stay or Go," giving her partner an ultimatum atop a simple piano arrangement and drums, while letting her man on the side know that she's available if he wants her ("If you need to love somebody, baby let me be that body") over a bluesy guitar riff on the Ester Dean-penned "Here I Am." Still, while the album is fluid lyrically and musically, it's missing one thing: Monica's spunk and sass (think "So Gone" and "Knock Knock"). Let's hope she'll bring her swagger back on the next one.--Mariel Concepcion