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ALBUM REVIEW: Brandy – Human

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The title of track 13 on Brandy’s latest offering Human sums up the outcome of the on/off actress’ musical comeback attempt—“Something’s Missing.” It’s not that Brandy is out of good ideas, is lacking vocal passion, or that she just can’t cut it any more. It’s the direction in which she’s decided take her music, with production that doesn’t seem to compliment the “girl next-door” persona that she rocked so well. With her Afrodisiac project helmed by man-of-the-moment Timbaland, you’d think that she’d have used her head and included some of the tracks the two worked on for this project, but instead, Brandy settles for her familiar partner-in-crime, Rodney Jerkins. There’s no doubt the man can produce his ass off when he wants to, but for some reason his partnership with the ex-Moesha star on this go round just doesn’t seem to cut the mustard.    Stand out moments on Human include “Warm It Up (With Love),” thanks in part to its ’90s sounding R&B piano riff, and the touching “Long Distance.” Opening with “The Definition,” this track seems to pack a bit more of a punch. It’s the type of record crafted for women to powder their nose to before a weekend out on the town and it actually sounds like something Brandy might have put out on Full Moon. Her emotionally driven first single “Right Here (Departed)” gets two thumbs up for an uplifting quality track that could even rival the Alicia Keys smash “No One”. Aside from the aforementioned, “Camouflage”, “Piano Man” and “True” leave you wondering if you’re really listening to a Brandy album. They just don’t seem to click at all. Imagine the most outrageous R&B collaboration (Al Green and T-Pain, for example). That’s how you feel throughout seventy percent of this album; it doesn’t work. The electronic sound effects used on “Torn Down” sprinkled over the included faint guitar licks—seriously, what’s that all about? As far as songwriting goes, Brandy has always managed to pen a hit. This outing just sees her choice of production sell her short.This is the same woman who told us she wanted to be down, and borrowed the crown from Mary J for a brief spell thanks to her much talked about Never Say Never album. Unfortunately it’s a new day and Human just doesn’t feel like vintage Brandy at all. Full of ballad-esque records and the occasional up-tempo joint, it just simply fails to flow. Right Here (Departed) (Album Version) – BrandyLong Distance – Brandy

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