When it was revealed at the start of 2012 that Monica and Brandy were teaming up again, well over a decade after “The Boy Is Mine,” expectations were ridiculously high. Of course, nothing could ever measure up to that brilliant 1998 diva-off, produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and Dallas Austin. “The Boy is Mine” spent an astounding 13 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, fueled in part by rumors that the two young singers weren’t exactly on friendly terms from the start (likely as close to a celeb reality show as we got back then).
Foolishly hoping that in 2012 Monica and Brandy would deliver a “The Boy Is Mine” sequel, “It All Belongs To Me” was destined to disappoint upon first listen. And second. And third, if you got that far before feverishly cueing up “The Boy Is Mine” to erase what you’d heard and relive that glorious moment from pop music’s past.
A not-unsurprising reaction, but also unfair. Now that a few weeks have passed and the pair’s music video for “It All Belongs To Me” has premiered, I can better appreciate the song. A more subdued affair than “The Boy Is Mine,” Monica and Brandy deliver very strong vocal performances. Both now older and presumably wiser too, the mature sound of “It All Belongs To Me” makes sense. There’s no need to bicker.
However, I’m afraid there’s still no excuse for the song’s Facebook/Macbook mentions. Not exactly striving for a timeless quality by including those.
Directed by Chris Robinson, the Waiting To Exhale and Thelma & Louise-inspired music video is tagged with a dedication to Whitney Houston. More than an inspiration for their own singing careers, Monica and Brandy also considered the late singer a friend and mentor.
With alternate versions of “It All Belongs To Me” slated for new albums from Monica (New Life) and Brandy (Two Eleven), I’m very curious to hear how these “slightly different” takes depart from the single version.