Album Track Listing
Release Date: 28 June 2004
By: Keya Modessa
1. Who I Am
3. Who Is She 2 U
4. Talk About Our Love - feat. Kanye West
5. I Tried
6. Where You Wanna Be - feat. T.I
9. Turn It Up
11. Say You Will
12. Come As You Are
14. How I Feel
15. Should I Go
Many will remember Brandy Norwood as the adolescent teenager on ‘Moesha’ and from her cute, teen hits like “I want to be down” and “Bestfriend” all those many years ago. Ten years to be exact, and since making her Atlantic debut, Brandy has remained a consistent and skilful player in the creative, yet competitive music industry. Now, with her eagerly awaited new album, 'AFRODISIAC,' the 25 year old, Grammy Award-winning star has undoubtedly released the most insightful, passionate, and personal collection of her multi-platinum career to date.
Following a string of adolescent releases as a cute, bubbly teenager, Brandy’s maturity has finally kicked in and can be noted on this album. But saddled with this maturity comes experience and heart ache.The album is the first release from Brandy since the aftermath of Brandy’s divorce. References to hurt, pain and mistakes are whispered throughout most of the songs on the album, basically Brandy has managed to string together an intense narrative from her emotional turmoil.
Another big change in Brandy’s life and which is reflected in this album, was her decision to dump long-time producer Rodney Jerkins. This time Brandy chose to use the skills of Timbaland and sure as ever, the album has his Midas touch sprinkled all over it. He cleverly accessorizes her strong vocals with his trademark sampling and energetic sound effects.
The first single taken off the album, ‘Talk About Love’, features producer and man of the moment, Kanye West. This song sums up the general sound of Afrodisiac. It gives off a slick blend of Hip-Hop and R&B. Her voice is deep and sultry and it is quite different to hear her pair up with someone else on her tracks. She openly talks about the dissolution of her short-lived marriage on ‘Who I Am’; “Just for the sake of my daughter, I tried to stick to the plan, but I had to get rid of the ring, on my fourth finger, left hand.” All the stops have been pulled out for this frank and emotionally driven album.
High energy flutes, deep rhythm bass lines, soulful grooves life Brandy's vocals as she pours her real life drama out for her fans to listen too. If it’s up beat, club tracks that you are expecting you will be deeply disappointed. Afrodisiac is a carefully themed first had account of Brandy’s hard ships in the last few years. It is made up of ballads, and slow, smooth tracks. Perhaps the only track, which seems little out of place, is ‘Turn It Up’ and that is only because it’s slightly more energetic than the rest of the album.
‘Sadiddy’ definitely has Timbaland all over it. It is a mixture of music, beats, and instruments all closely juxtaposed together. ‘Necessary’ and ‘Say You will’ are probably two of the most beautiful tracks on the album. The words stand out and the emotion is really drawn out. From the staggered beat, to the guitars – the whole track comes together without any effort. ‘Say You Will’ is a smooth 70’s sounding, candyfloss track. The production and vocals are extremely subtle and conjures up images of a young girl singing sweet nothings to a photograph of her high school love. One outstanding track musically is ‘Finally.’ The music sounds like it should feature on the soundtrack to a film, which depicts freedom and independence. “Finally I walked away, never would've seen this day, givin' up on those things that hurt me, made me who I am today.”
Afrodisiac comes to a spectacular close with ‘Should I Go’ which leans heavily on Coldpay’s superb hit ‘Clocks.’ Transformed into a whispery goodbye, the track does not highlight a romantic parting from a lover but asks whether or not she should continue her career within the music industry. This track defiantly has some gritty truth to it and echoes something reminiscent that most artists must feel some time in their musical career.
Afrodisiac marks a major milestone for Brandy and her career. This fourth release sees Brandy working at probably the highest level of her abilities. She has moved from teen princess to womanhood and who would have thought such heartache could produce such an evocative and brilliant album?
Rating: 4 out of 5
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