For what seems like the 100th time already this year, another formerly squeaky-clean teen R&B queen wants to reveal her inner freak. But oh, Mya! She was such a wholesome youngster, and wasn't her racy turn on the remade "Lady Marmalade" just peer pressure? Guess not. Mya takes her first cues here from Missy Elliot, declaring "My ass is like . . . wo." By track five, she's demanding "Pull it out/Put it on the table/Show me what I paid for." So farewell to innocence and all that.
Unlike other good girls gone wild, however, Mya doesn't try desperately to convince you she's the real, raw deal. There's a theatrical quality to Moodring's adult entertainment, and Mya plays her role with a knowing wink. You can't help but smile at "Sophisticated Lady," a female revision of all those wet dreams Prince and Rick James once shared. Even funnier and more unexpected is "Whatever Bitch," the hyper-techno soundtrack to a drag club catfight. And besides, it's not like Mya has abandoned her sweeter side. The lovely "Things Come and Go" shows that Sean Paul can do more than mash it up, while "Free Fallin'" gives Tom Petty's AOR standard an affecting, gospelish flip. Those songs and the slick hip-pop that surrounds them don't match the invention of the album's high points, but overall, Mya's Moodring should turn yours a happy shade.