Likes: Without You, Hardly Breathing, Scared of Beautiful
Dislikes: Let Me Go, Put it Down, What You Need
Overall: Acceptable, but not stellar.
Throughout the 90’s, R&B starlet Brandy Norwood was “Sittin’ on Top of the World,” with multiple hits and a successful, groundbreaking acting career. Soon after the millennium, however, things started to slow down as the singer’s albums started to underperform. It seemed that Norwood’s record label handlers didn’t know how to transition her into the next decade as she went from a vivacious teen to a mature woman, and they’ve been struggling to figure it out ever since. Her 6th studio album, “Two Eleven” shows the struggle continues, but there’s a promising bright light at the end of the tunnel. There are pros and cons with every aspect of this album. In terms of lyrics, there are great concepts, but poor execution. The structure is sometimes rambling and jagged, if not too simplistic or immature. The pinnacle of childishness is the fan favorite “Put it Down.” At 33, with plenty of personal obstacles and nearly 20 years in the entertainment industry, it makes no sense for an artist like Brandy to record a song about instantly falling in love because of good sex. I would expect that from a 21-year old. The track is catchy, which I suppose is why some enjoy it, but I view it as a shortcoming. The production is dark, haunting and moody, creating a kind of sensual and relaxed ambiance, but is arguably monotone. Tweak the cons with more cohesive, less shallow lyrics and add some tempo shifts, and you’ve got a home run. Brandy might be on her way back. You can listen to an album sampler of the standard edition below.