After four years and a brief stint as Bran’Nu, Brandy is back with her 6th and most recent studio album Two Eleven, released on October 12, 2012. I had a chance to listen and compare to her previous albums (I admit I hadn’t listened to a full Brandy album since Full Moon…) and here are my thoughts:
Overall I thought the album as a whole was actually quite similar to Full Moon. Originally I was kind of disappointed, thinking that Brandy hadn’t really diversified her sound since her last album, but then I realized she had 2 albums in between that I hadn’t listened to yet 🙂 Having now listened to Afrodisiac and Human Nature, I definitely see a pretty large difference between all 4 of her most recent albums. However, this latest one still reminds me of the heavy electronic influences that Darkchild brought to the majority of Full Moon (which is interesting considering Brandy’s split with him to work with a diverse group of producers after the their experience with Human).
My highlights / favorites on the album (as well as the full thing on Spotify) are below, hope you enjoy!
- “Put It Down” – Well since it was the lead single, I’ll start with it first. I thought this was such a nice reintroduction to Brandy (I didn’t even realize it was her when I first heard it)! And Chris Breezy was a welcome addition in my opinion 🙂 That heavy bass line is kind of addictive to me and the two of them are so cute in the video!
- “Do You Know What You Have” – Definitely one of my top three on this album. This is that classic 90’s R&B that I LOVE…and this sounds like the older-school Brandy that I remember & love.
- “Wish Your Love Away” – Pretty sad, but I think her lower range flows across those beats really well.
- “Paint this House” – This track DEFINITELY makes my top three on this album too. I love the combination of her soft relaxing background vocals with the ambient foundation of the song…I could listen to it all night!
- “Music” – I think this is a pretty cute piece & I really like the lyrics and smooth easy beat, it also for some reason feels like to me like it could have fit very well on her first album 🙂
- “Wildest Dreams” – Second single & for some reason I think it’s very well placed as the first full song on the album.
- “Without You” – I think this one actually showcases her range pretty well.
- “Hardly Breathing” – Kinda reminds me of Breezy & Jordin Sparks “No Air” (don’t play me, I LOVE that song & am not ashamed to say so haha)
- “Scared of Beautiful” – I think this is a beautifully written piece very characteristic of emotional & introspective Frank Ocean, although it’s not my favorite instrumentally…
And just as a last note, the Intro / Outro sound to me like they could be used on a dramatic BET commercial…maybe she should license it to them & get some royalties!
Hey everyone, here’s a collection of songs that I’ve heard that have really caught my ear this year so far. I find that very often it’s difficult for me to keep up with & remember ALL of the new music I find out about & enjoy – from Shazam to recommendations to live shows, etc, so this is my attempt to document & save everything that I really enjoy – so that I’m always able to go back and listen later. Be forewarned that this is quite a long, VERY random list (genres across the board – it also includes some of my favorites from popular new(-ish) albums that have been in my rotation a lot this year), but I hope to continue to do this monthly going forward so that each list will be a little more manageable. I also recognize that I’m probably very late to the game for a lot of these songs. But for now, here’s what I’ve got for this year so far…and you may see extended features on some of these artists in the future! Check back at the end of next month & hopefully you’ll find a new list from September!
Some highlights / favorites along with the playlist below –
Chillin in the Lounge (or at Home) Music:
- “Two Up” – Diggy
- “No Sugar” – Joey Negro, Gramophonedzie, Shea Soul (I love this video…the dancing is so cute!)
- “Clocks” – Rhythms Del Mundo & Coldplay (THIS IS AN AMAZING MIX!!)
- “Warrior” – Kimbra
- “She’s Bad” – Bad Rabbits
Lovey-Dovey AND/OR Emo:
Simply Smooth 🙂 (R&B / Jazz)
- “Selfish Love” – Bertell
- “Daydreaming” – David Sanborn
- “Believe In Us” – Mint Condition
- “Sweet Life” – Frank Ocean (ARGUABLY MY FAVORITE SONG ON THIS WHOLE LIST!!…The version in this video is a liiitle high-pitched but still sounds great IMO…)
- “Let Me In” – Anthony David
- “I Don’t Care” – Elle Varner
- “Leaf” – Elle Varner
- “Lately” – Anita Baker (I still like Tyrese’s version better but I LOVE how Anita was able to make this her own! It sounds so smooth & jazzy, if you didn’t know better you’d think it was an old school song that Tyrese did a cover of!)
- “Feel The Same” – Reggie Watts
So Ursher’s new album came out this week & I’ve really been enjoying it!
MUST LISTENS in my opinion: “I Care For U” & “Dive” are REALLY competing for my favorite on this album. Seriously LOVE both of them, for the most part for the background instrumentals. I also love the production beats on “I Care For U” as well as the background vocal harmonies in “Dive.” I originally heard “I Care For U” on the radio a couple weeks ago & was SO EXCITED to hear the rest of the album. When I heard “Dive,” I thought it was so beautiful I literally almost started crying LOL!
Other favorites: “Show Me,” “Twisted” (featuring Pharrell who I also LOVE & am so excited to hear producing again! I had fallen off of him for a while, but CLEARLY I need to get back…), “What Happened To U” (listen closely…the beginning is a sample of “One More Chance/Stay with Me Remix” by Biggie), “Looking 4 Myself” featuring Luke Steele (which I feel like could be a Frank Ocean song), “I.F.U.,” “Say The Words,” “Hot Thing” (also produced by Pharrell), & of course “Climax.”
I haven’t listened to an entire Usher album since Here I Stand (I became less interested when he started moving to the extreme pop/dance side), so if there are songs I need to listen to on Raymond v. Raymond or Versus that are not already singles, please let me know! In the meantime, here’s Looking 4 Myself (click on the image to listen to the entire deluxe album):