First Impressions: She's Only 'Human'...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I confess. I've had a love/hate music listening relationship with Brandy. It's not that I didn't dig a tune every now and again...she just wasn't a personal favorite. Till 2004. Long before people started scooping up Timbaland, Kanye West and even Coldplay for inspiration, Brandy did it first on one of her best kept secrets, her 2004 Afrodisiac album. With Timbaland in the production seat, Kanye making guest spots and Chris Martin lending his classic, "Clocks" piano intro to a track, Afrodisiac shone Brandy in a new light for me. Now almost four years later, Brandy returns with Human. Did Brandy entice me just as much with this new effort as she did Afrodisiac? An emotional rollercoster, Human is Brandy putting her heart on her sleeve once again, and delivering a strong, yet safe, set of material. The singer smartly recruited producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins to guide this album in the electro-R&B waters it wades in and the production is sharp and tunes catchy enough to get some chart action. With lead off single, "Right Here (Departed)", Brandy has a inspirational number she can sink her teeth into and tracks such as the bubbly "Warm It Up (With Love)" and the piano driven, "Camouflage" recall Brandy in her 90's hey-day. Standout cut, "Shattered Heart" is brooding and rides on a skittish drum machine and Gospel notes. Human doesn't possess the grit that Afrodisiac projected and it is mostly mid-tempo heavy with sparkling synth strut of "Piano Man", being the only song that'll make ya shake. Still Brandy's fifth album is a wonderfully crafted effort that has Brandy looking at the light at the end of the tunnel.

Rating: 8.7/10

Release Date: December 9, 2008

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