(((Rating: 2 Notes)))
Bangers: The Definition, Piano Man, Long Distance, A Capella (Something's Missing) & Fall
I have looked forward to this album for the (I think) 5 years she stayed away. Ok, maybe more like 3 years but still. I feel like everyone was anticipating the real Queen B's return! So let's go...track by track!
Human Intro - Brandy talks about being a human-being and "having the freedom to be yourself and not caring what others think and not being afraid."
The Definition - Brandy lays it on the line for us here with a bass-heavy and thumping sound here, undeniably produced by long-time friend and producer Rodney 'Darkchild' Jenkins. She sings, "the definition of love is you."
Warm It Up (With Love) - starts with the same familiar thump beat and piano 2-key loop. Brandy's voice and lyrics are more mature and you can tell as she sings in a more relaxed tone. The song progresses and gets more musical as it continues and intro's what sounds like space effects.
Right Here (Departed) - This song right from the start has the Darkchild feel to it and Brandy sings the mess out of this song but unfortunately it just doesn't appeal to me at all.
Piano Man - The song starts off with a strong Timbaland-ish synth but surprisingly it is produced by Rodney J. once again. The song is interesting but cornball-ish as Brandy sings, 'play a song for us (Mr. piano man), play a song for a love (Mr. piano man)..." But me still likey! :)
Long Distance - When I first heard this song it reminded me of a Beatles/Elton John song. The piano is soft and heartfelt and Brandy's vocals are absolutely flawless here and when she sings, "with you is where I'd rather be..." you feel her pain. The song is extraordinarily dramatic and seems to be better suited for a movie. Nevertheless, it doesn't damage the album either. Beautiful composition here.
Camouflage - This songs like a classic Brandy song as she sings about not wanting a love if she has to camouflage who she is. The beat is likable and will make you bop your head a bit. Excellent Brandy vocal delivery as always. But where is the raw emotion? Another Rodney production, of course.
Torn Down - The song opens with strings and a guitar and sounds like a song you would hear as a woman makes a journey in a movie. This song is catchy and thumps but is also fun as she sings, "so strong, don't know how, can't be torn down". We hear Brandy's maturity here as well.
Human - Me no likely this song. Her voice is wonderful here but unfortunately too perfect and produced for a song where the chorus boasts, "I'm only human...". So we beg of you to take away all of the over-produced music and vocals Brandy! Overall a wonderful concept and beautifully written lyrics and very dramatic once again.
Shattered Heart - In this one, we also get a Timbaland-ish feel with the drum beat and synths and ghostly 'ooohhhs' throughout the song. This track honestly sounds like a left over track from Afrodisiac and leaves me wondering if, in fact, it was. The beat then speeds up a bit towards the end of the song as Brandy repeatedly sings, "don't shatter my heart".
True - Brandy's voice on here and the violins go perfectly together. The beat thumps dramatically in the background and we then hear a piano faintly and fantastic harmonies and echoes. In this song Brandy becomes a victim of love as she questions her man in asking, "is it true that I'm not the only one, is it true that you're just having fun with my hearttttt". Wonderful song.
A Capella (Something's Missing) - This has to be one of the best songs on the album or the best. Brandy's voice along with an electric guitar, serves as the only instrumentation in the song. She truly sings it a Capella and the layering effect does wonders here as though there are several voices. Great concept and lovely vocals.
1st and Love - Hand claps, heavy bass and synths...and of course good harmonies. The song then goes into the hook where the beat gets even heavier and speeds up. Clever but yet nothing stands-out at all.
Fall - Brandy's voice is absolutely beautiful here as it is surrounded in the beginning with only a piano. Then a drum slides in as she sings easily, "just fall, fall, falll....". Easily a favorite here.
Overall, this album was easily a let down for me because it was more of a Rodney Jerkins album than Brandy's return. While each song had it's own 'enjoyable factor', nothing really stood out or had the qualities to make me want to press repeat. I felt like the songs would have been awesome in 1998 but it's 2008 and things needed to be stepped up. I didn't purchase this album. As a friend of mine said best, 'Brandy needs to be punished for this." :) Maybe next time Brandy.
P.S. Tracks that were leaked that weren't placed on the album but should have been were...List, 2nd Thought, After the Flood (maybe), Dig This (maybe as a bonus track), Feel So Good (hot hot hot), Porciline (maybe but still hot), This Must Be Love, Honey, What Have Ya Done For Me? and Throw It All Away.