Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back In The Day: Angel of Mine

They tend to say that good things come every ten years. This is certainly true of pop music. Ten years ago was 1999, a year rife with some of the best pop songs of our generation, and a time when I was an eager pre-teen with a seemingly innate love for all things pop. So I've decided, every so often, I will update with some songs that were so great then so we can remember and reminisce. It's hard to believe it was 10 years ago...when you think about it. :)

Ten Years ago this week, the #1 song on the Hot 100 was "Angel of Mine" by Monica. In fact, the the entire top 10 was full of female singers a total of eight in all: Monica at #1, Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time" at #2, Deborah Cox's "Nobody's Supposed To Be Here" at #3, Cher's "Believe" at #4, Brandy's "Have You Ever?" at #5, Whitney Houston's "Heartbreak Hotel", featuring Faith Evans at at #7, and Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" at #9 -- all worth listening to and remembering -- especially Deborah Cox and Brandy.

In case you were curious, remaining positions were given to the Backstreet Boys at #6 ("All I Have To Give"), the Goo Goo Dolls at #8 ("Slide"), and Third Eye Blind ("Jumper") at #10.

"Angel of Mine" was written by Rhett Lawrence and Travon Potts. The former is best known for producing two other #1's: Mariah Carey's breakthrough song, "Vision of Love", and Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independant". Potts also has his list of credits, the most interesting to me being he produced the song "Blessed" off of Christina Aguilera's debut album, which some people like me would remember being the b-side to her debut single, "Genie In A Bottle", another 1999 staple (but we'll get to that when we get to that. ;) )

Originally, "Angel of Mine" was written for a British R&B group called Eternal, who was phenomenally successful in their homeland of the UK, scoring fifteen Top 20 hits, but their popularity didn't really translate to the USA. The group broke up shortly after the release of the song, which was included as a part of their Greatest Hits Package, released in 1997.

Enter Monica. By 1999, girlfriend was no lightweight in the music business, but it is arguable that "Angel Of Mine" is Monica's best known song that she did solo (the most popular overall unarguably being her duet with Brandy -- "The Boy Is Mine" -- which was released in 1998).

However, "Angel of Mine" was the third single off of The Boy Is Mine, which featured the aforementioned duet as the first single. The duet single was #1 on the Hot 100 for 13 weeks...a monster to follow up to, and was a response to a harsh criticsm by the press that Monica and Brandy did not like each other. Much like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, or Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan after them, the two talented youngsters were pitted against each other, attempting to force fans to take sides of who they liked more. (In case you're curious: I tended to listen to Brandy more, but I did adore this song, and their duet.) "The Boy Is Mine" was a cheeky nod that the two girls were actually friends, and the video poked fun at their supposed rivalry. The song was nominated for a few Grammy's, and even won Best R&B Performance by a Duo/Group. The Boy Is Mine album's first three singles ("The Boy Is Mine", "My First Night" and "Angel Of Mine") all reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

But back to "Angel of Mine". The song was apart of Monica's sophomore album, and helped secure her position as an R&B goddess (at least at the time). It's a real shame her career is still in the scramblings, as most of her followup singles after "Angel" just failed to connect. The song was produced by the omnipresent R&B producer of the time -- Rodney Jerkins, best known as "Darkchild".

Monica has released three albums since The Boy Is Mine (All Eyes On Me in 2002, After the Storm in 2003, and The Makings of Me in 2006), with another record, Still Standing, her sixth overall, set for a 2009 release.

Since "Angel of Mine", Monica has struggled to gain her former glory (despite her still ever present vocals), with her biggest single since being "So Gone", from her After the Storm album in 2003 reaching #10 on the Hot 100. I particularly enjoyed "All Eyez On Me", the 1st single from the album of the same name, back in 2002, as it featured a sample of Michael Jackson's hit "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)".

Click here to check out the video for Brandy and Monica's 1998 hit, "The Boy Is Mine", and click here to check out Monica performing "All Eyez On Me". But below is the music video for "Angel of Mine". Ahh, the good old days. (NOTE: And yes, that is a sexy looking Tyrese in the video as her love interest. Back when he was a singer first and foremost, not an actor. Little did we know that in 10 years time, he would be best noted for a small role in a summer blockbuster about robot aliens that change into cars.)

1 comment:

John said...

What a great idea, and a terrific way to start off the series. I do love this song, although I like Eternal's better. Eternal actually had a top 20 song in the U.S. with "Stay". Great memories, too!

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