Saturday, December 6, 2008


Almost fifteen years into her music career, Brandy has evolved from the young and sassy teenager singing out her wishes of wanting to be “down” to a refined, mature and sensual chanteuse.

, her fifth solo album and first for Epic Records, finds Brandy reunited with longtime collaborator Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins (the solid “The Definition” as well as the first single “Right Here (Departed)” and other newcomers such as Toby Gad (Beyonce), RedOne (Trina, Usher) and Midi Mafia (Fantasia, Jennifer Lopez).

Vocally versatile and never missing a single beat, Brandy consistently weaves melodious textures around each of the fifteen songs, centered on the growth from being in love (the excellent “1st and Love”), the fear of heartbreak (the eerie “Shattered Heart”) and personal anthems (the relaxed, but slightly trite title track). But when the album drags through plodding or near-lifeless material (“Piano Man”), it is her voice never lets up, making one wish that the production equally matched her emotive and impassioned performances. Additionally, the material leaked to the internet over the past year (notably, the Timbaland-sounding “List” and “Porcelain Doll”, the pounding and captivating “Sweet Nothings”, and percussive “Maximum Risk”, among countless others) begs the nagging question of why those tracks weren’t put in place of the weaker inclusions.

There are very few, if any, sleek or sexy moments that match the peaks displayed on 2004’s Afrodisiac. Still, Brandy is likely to keep many satisfied with a back to basics formula with her latest release.

Here's the Video to her second single "Long Distance"

As heard by...Michael Tilus.

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