A Mood Ring Color for Every Track on Mýa’s ‘Moodring’ Album
By the time Moodring arrived on June 22, 2003, Mýa already established herself as a household name. The triple threat teamed up with Lil' Kim, Pink, and Christina Aguilera for an epic remake of "Lady Marmalade," which took home a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration in 2002. That same year, the Washington DC native co-starred in the Broadway musical Chicago.
Mýa's debut and sophomore albums, Mýa and Fear of Flying, sold nearly 3 million units combined, but the "Movin' On" singer set out to prove her maturity as an artist with Moodring. This time around, Mýa co-wrote and co-produced the majority of the album's tracks. "I took control. It wasn't about being a stubborn artist," she told Billboard. "It was just something that I started on my own by calling up people and gathering musicians together."
Debuting at No. 3 on the Top Billboard 200 album charts, the 16-track LP boasts the highest first-week sales (113,000 units) of Mýa's career, which spans two decades. Moodring also marked the singer's final studio project before parting ways with Interscope Records in 2005 and making the transition from major label artist to Miss Independent two years later.
Moodring encompasses pop, R&B, hip-hop, reggae, and techno, making it one of the most ambitious and well-rounded projects of 2003. With the smash hit "My Love Is Like...Wo," Mýa pushed the envelope and evolved into her own as an entertainer.
In celebration of Moodring's 15th anniversary, we're revisiting this underrated gem and suggesting what tracks to listen to based on the actual colors of a mood ring.
Check it out below.
Orange: Adventurous, feisty, devilish
Mýa’s sass and confidence are impossible to ignore on the boastful “My Love Is Like…Wo,” inspiring even the timidest woman to unlock their inner pimpstress. Meanwhile, “Sophisticated Lady” takes it a step further. Backed by a funky Rick James sample (“Cold Blooded”), the lyrics are likely to raise some eyebrows, e.g., “Throw it on the table/ Show me what I paid for … Can you reach my navel?”
Switching gears, the siren’s mischievous side takes over “Hurry Up” as she searches for random excuses to call it quits with her man so that she can get things poppin' with the dude she's secretly lusting after. Feeling catty? Buried 13 tracks deep, the techno-infused “Whatever Bitch” is “strictly for the drag queens,” according to Mýa. Three words: You better werk!
Violet: Love-struck, passionate, romantic
It only takes a minute to fall head over heels with the romantic, carefree vibes and sublime arrangements on “Fallen,” which continues to age like fine wine. Skipping ahead a few tracks, “No Sleep Tonight” and “Anatomy 1On1” are quintessential R&B slow jams. Making love ‘til the break of dawn? That’s the deal here. Risqué lyrics, e.g., “You found a position that turns me on,” are a far cry from Mýa’s innocent school-girl image (e.g., "Take Me There" from The Rugrats Movie) when we first met her in 1998. “You,” on the other hand, goes beyond sex and captures the beginning stages of falling in love.
Amber: Nervous, sad, heart-broken
Imagine this scenario: You’re stressed TF out because your period is late and you're convinced you’re pregnant, but the potential baby daddy isn’t answering his phone. That’s exactly Mýa’s situation on “Late,” which is reminiscent of Brandy’s 2002 hit, “What About Us?” sonically. On the contrary, “After the Rain” is a heartfelt ode to all the friends Mýa lost along the way. Specific lines, such as “You’re one in a million” and “Got me cryin’ waterfalls,” seem to reference Aaliyah and Left Eye’s tragic deaths. This one’s a tear jerker for sure.
Green: Envious, irritated
Don’t get too close to Mýa’s man is the moral of the story in “Step,” which picks up right where 2000’s “Case of the Ex” left off. The doe-eyed singer warns, “She claimin’ that your man is her man/ Gonna get her wig knocked way back.” Written by Missy Elliot, Timbaland and Mýa herself, “Step” translates into one of the album’s slickest moments.
Blue: Laid-back, calm, optimistic
Featuring Sean Paul, Mýa slays reggae on “Things Come & Go,” which is easy-going on the surface, but the lyrics reveal a woman who almost lost it all after doing some “stupid s---” in a relationship. “Take A Picture” will give you all the feels and then some. Lyrics such as "Sittin' here thinkin' of my yesterdays/ Things weren't this crazy/ I wasn't so emotional/ I didn't cry at commercials" will make you reminisce about memories, but strive to create new ones with the people you cherish.
On an unexpected retread of Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “Free Fallin'," Mýa’s vocals are nothing short of soothing and angelic. Lyrically speaking, the verses reveal a coming-of-age story revolving around a young woman who’s “just going through the motions" and "does just what he says." Unbeknownst to anyone, she’s yearning for freedom—something we can all relate to.
White: Confusion, frustration
Nothing’s worse than a trifling dude, who can’t get his act together, but he’s foine, so you can’t justify kicking him to the curb. Mýa knows this struggle all too well. On the futuristic “Why You Gotta Look So Good?” featuring Lloyd Banks, Mýa confronts a no-good boyfriend who’s making her sick, but she “can’t say no to them luscious lips.”
Black: Anger, resentment
Plotting revenge on a lowlife lover never tasted so sweet. Just ask Mýa. In many ways, "Taste This" feels like a continuation of "If You Died I Wouldn't Cry 'Cause You Never Loved Me Anyway" from the songbird's debut, eponymous album. When Mýa broods, “And I am so appalled/ You take it there/ When you’re the one who messed up/ It’s like I’m sleepin’ with the enemy,” the rage in her voice is apparent and no joke.
Writer’s Note: The bonus track "Real Compared to What" featuring rapper Common was purposely left off this list.