First Hit #1: October 3, 1998
Sex is, and always has been, one of the most popular subjects for modern hits. But it’s rare to get a song that both admits that sex is both natural and fun, but that it should also be considered kind of important. The First Night is one of those rarities. Monica sings as a woman who has met a nice young man, a young man who she finds very attractive and would enjoy having intercourse with, but will not because they’ve just met. It’s a fun, light bit of R&B, but one that works as a pretty decent message to the teen girls that provide the core of Monica’s audience. It’s not anti-sex, but it’s presenting sex as something that should be meaningful. Monica wants to have sex with this young man, but she decides she only wants to have sex with someone she knows. It’s not an abstinence message – it’s clear that there will be no hesitation once they’ve been on a few more dates and are better acquainted – but it’s a message that’s actually still pretty good for her target market. Just having sex with anyone is probably a bad idea, even if you’re young and horny and have all these hormones you don’t know what to do with. Make it with someone you actually like, and there’s a connection there that has a bit more meaning. It’s about resisting current bodily urges for much better urges later on.
There is precisely one problem with the track, which is a pretty unimpressive rap intro. It doesn’t really add anything, apart from giving you the impression that Monica could do better.