Moniquea

Yes No Maybe

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One of the numerous R&B strains in Moniquea's self-titled 2011 debut was synth-funk, as heard on lead single "Can't Let You Go," a track that, production-wise, fell somewhere between 1980 Zapp and 1983 Mtume. After that album, the singer -- who is originally from Gary, Indiana, like Deniece Williams, but was raised in Pasadena, California, stomping grounds of stylistic peer Dâm-Funk -- gravitated more toward early-'80s sounds with help from XL Middleton and Eddy Funkster. Yes No Maybe is clearly aimed at lovers of electronics-heavy R&B, including the above-mentioned artists and the likes of Midnight Star, Cameo, the System, Kleeer, Gwen Guthrie, and Kashif-produced dynamos like Evelyn "Champagne" King and Melba Moore. The album largely works midtempo and uptempo material for dancefloors, led by the sportive "Casanova (Let You Go)" and "I Don't Wanna Get Used to It," but she and I, CED slow it down a bit for "I Need It All," an unapologetically Yamaha DX7-driven groove. As with Dâm-Funk's output, one of the main characteristics that separates this stuff from its inspirations is that the sound is thicker, more bottom-heavy. Moniquea never truly belts or wails. Instead, she keeps to an amiable but assertive approach that fully serves these bounding, flavorful tracks.

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