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After the Storm is Monica's fourth studio album that was released on June 17, 2003 by J Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Intro 1:04
  2. Get It Off (featuring Dirtbag) 4:19
  3. So Gone 4:02
  4. U Should've Known Better 4:17
  5. Don't Gotta Go Home (featuring DMX) 3:55
  6. Knock Knock 4:18
  7. Breaks My Heart 4:26
  8. I Wrote This Song 3:48
  9. Ain't Gonna Cry No More 4:10
  10. Go To Bed Mad (featuring Tyrese) 4:37
  11. Hurts The Most 4:44
  12. That's My Man 4:34
  13. So Gone (Remix) 4:20

Album BackgroundEdit

Following the release of her second album, "The Boy is Mine" in 1998 and her contribution to the "Big Momma's House" movie soundtrack on the track "I've Got to Have It" (which also featured Jermaine Dupri & Nas), Monica took a hiatus from recording music.

During her hiatus, Monica tied up filming commitments to the WB network series, "Felicity" & the film "Boys and Girls", and got a starring role in the MTV Films film, "Love Song."

In an interview with MTV amid promotion for Oscar Mayer's "Jingle Jam Talent Search" contest in June 2000, Monica revealed that she was working on her third album throughout the summer with a first single to be released in October of that same year.

However, production on the album was temporarily halted after Monica's former boyfriend, Jarvis "Knot" Weems committed suicide and she cared for his daughter (from a previous relationship) during the hiatus.

Monica eventually resumed work on her third album in the fall of 2001. The album, "All Eyez on Me" was released in October of 2002 in Japan and was scheduled to be released in the United States in November of that same year.

However, due to heavy bootlegging and becoming available online through file-sharing services along with the poor success of the singles "All Eyez on Me" & "Too Hoodz", the album was pulled from stores days after the release & was never released in the US.

Instead, Monica's label, J Records asked her to substantially reconstruct the album with a host of new producers (including Missy Elliott, who would become the executive producer on the new album).

In January of 2003, she intensified recording sessions to continue working on new songs with producers BAM & Ryan, Jasper DaFatso and Jazze Pha. She also collaborated with rapppers DMX, Dirtbag, Busta Rhymes & Mia X, and singers Tweet & Tyrese. Mya was originally set to lend her voice to a track, but was replaced by Faith Evans; however, the track never made the album's final tracklisting.

Although the album was still planned to be titled "All Eyez on Me" until its completion, Monica decided to change the album title to a more personal one after dealing with private tribulations between 2000 and 2002.

In an interview with Jet Magazine, Monica said: "I wanted this to be more of my testimony. I feel blessed to still be here after a lot of things that I've been through. I wanted to share certain things with people. Not so much as what I've been through, but how I made it through. That's what the album reflects ... It's really the reason I titled my album After the Storm."

Chart PerformanceEdit

"After the Storm" peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 (becoming Monica's first number-one album) and #2 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with sales of 186,000 copies.

It was certified gold by the RIAA and has sold 1,070,000 copies in the United States as of 2014.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"After the Storm" received generally mixed to positive reviews from music critics.

Allmusic editor Andy Kellman gave the album four out of five stars and found that it picked up where previous album "The Boy Is Mine" "left off with nary a speed bump. Rather than come across as if there's lost time being made up, the album has all the assuredness and smart developments that should keep Monica's younger longtime followers behind her – all the while holding the ability to appeal to a wider spectrum of R&B and hip-hop fans [...] with just the right amount of swagger added to the singer's more wide-eyed personality of the '90s."

Caroline Sullivan from The Guardian commented that while "executive producer Missy Elliott is reliably ebullient on the burbling party number "Get It Off", and her enthusiasm clearly rubbed off on Monica, who essays some fawnlike rapping of her own on "So Gone" and "Knock Knock", things plod a bit in the second half, though, making After the Storm more it'll-do than must-buy.

Vanessa Jones from Entertainment Weekly also called the non-Elliott-produced material mediocre, noting that "super producer Missy Elliott tarts things up with a trio of streetwise party anthems. Otherwise, in between are bland ballads and derivative midtempo tunes that often fail to match the creative heights of Monica's lush, church-trained voice. Only on a four-track bonus CD do vocals and music achieve equal footing as the singer moves beyond hackneyed beats to explore gospel, hip-hop, and quiet-storm grooves."

Natalie Nichols of the Los Angeles Times also complimented Elliott's input on the album. She added, that "great R&B moments have come from singers who dwell on tragedy as intensely as on overcoming. Clearly, the title After the Storm implies moving on rather than wallowing, but the album too often feels generic, despite the personal sentiments Monica lets out [...] So maybe she should've dwelt a little more, at that."

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