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As I noted in my earlier review, the new Brandy and Monica duet "It All Belongs To Me" is far too weak to serve as an effective comeback vehicle for the faded R&B stars - though even if it had come out sounding great, would it really have mattered at this point?
Unfortunately for the duo, the just-released video for the track (which is to be featured on both of the divas' upcoming albums) isn't going to help matters, given that it feels as lifeless and pre-fab as the song it's been built around. 14 years on from their first duet - the smash-hit 1998 single "The Boy Is Mine" - Brandy and Monica certainly look incredible (both are now in their early 30s), but as artists they don't seem to have grown much over the last decade-and-a-half.
In the most banal of ways, the new track is an assertion of independence - the two aren't fighting over the same man anymore, have teamed up with one another to get back at their no-good boyfriends, etc. - but there's no real pathos behind any of it. Wearing glam outfits (I counted at least eight costume changes between them) and throwing men out of expensive cars (not to mention blowing them up!) while singing about all the material things of his that you're entitled to (laptops, clothes, jewelry, etc.) doesn't make you strong or sophisticated, it just makes you an older woman who values...things. Where's the progress in that?
"It All Belongs to Me" (which a title card near the end states is "In Loving Memory of Whitney Houston") was directed by Chris Robinson, who has helmed videos for some of the biggest names in hip-hop - Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Eminem, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Usher - though any creativity he might have employed for his previous gigs is in scant evidence here. Of course, given the lackluster product in question can you really blame him for not being inspired?
My grade for the video: "D". Watch it below and then grade it for yourself at top left!
Follow me on Twitter @HitFixChris
Monica's "New Life" will be released on April 10th, while Brandy's "Two Eleven" is scheduled for June.