Lil' Mo

Meet the Girl Next Door

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Containing one of 2003's sweetest and most unavoidable R&B singles in the form of "4Ever," Meet the Girl Next Door surpasses Lil' Mo's debut in a number of ways. Recorded during the eighth month of her pregnancy, her voice proves to be more rangy and versatile than it was on Based on a True Story; as a result, the up-tempo and mid-tempo cuts are on par with the ballads. Another smart move was made by having her perform all of the backing vocals, which is particularly effective on "Doing Me Wrong" and "So Lost Without You." A handful of producers, including Megahertz, Missy Elliott, Chucky Thompson, and Precision -- who co-produced another highlight, "Ain't No Reason," with Heavy D -- provide a wide array of settings for the recently wed Lil' Mo to tackle a number of subjects that revolve around devotion and hanging on to your partner, whether it involves working things out ("Ain't No Reason") or playing by a set of rules laid out with help from Lil' Kim ("Ten Commandments"). The only faults with the album? It's about four song too long, and the Peabo Bryson-sampling "Heaven" (!) is at least two minutes too short. Still, it's beyond apparent that Lil' Mo really ought to devote the bulk of her working time -- if not all of it -- to making music.

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