Volume 94, Issue 1

Friday, May 12, 2000


Tea Party prepared to take on Europe

Gladiator handily conquers all

Women-only festival

Beauty redefined

I Dreamed of Africaoffers one hell of a sedative

Braxton cranks up The Heat

Braxton cranks up The Heat

Toni Braxton
The Heat
BMG Music Canada

Sultry, sexually-charged Toni Braxton has returned after a four year break with her new album The Heat, a collection of songs that combines the best parts of her two earlier releases.

On this album, Braxton has taken more control over the finished product; she receives credit as co-producer and co-wrote over half of the songs. Fans of the singer will not be disappointed with this album as Braxton continues to rely heavily on the "Braxton Formula"– breathy soul mixed with soft and smooth R&B.

The album begins with the pulsing first single "He Wasn't Man Enough." It is no wonder this song has been chosen to be the first single. It is a solid, pop effort reminiscent of the Brandy/Monica 1998 hit, "The Boy is Mine". Other catchy tracks include, "Gimme Some," (which features TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes) and the rapid-firing, sexually-explicit "Maybe."

On The Heat, Braxton seems considerably more mature, willing to experiment with different sounds and layering. "The Art of Love" is a sensual and atmospheric track in which Braxton delivers soft, spoken-word lyrics, intended perhaps to be a soundtrack for lovemaking as opposed to a possible single.

Other experiments aren't as successful. "Spanish Guitar" includes a verse spoken in Spanish while a flamenco guitar is played lightly in the background. It just doesn't work. Perhaps its time for this trend of adding Latin rhythms to everything to come to an end.

Another disappointment with this album are the ballads. It was this type of song that made Braxton a household name, but all except one on this album are dreadful, including "I'm Still Breathing," and "Fairy Tale". They lack the intensity of Braxton's earlier ballads like, "Un-Break My Heart," and "Another Sad Love Song."

Despite the weak ballads, The Heat is an impressive album. Braxton has proven herself to be a substantial force on the R&B scene, churning out sultry records and singles destined to be hits.

–Matt Pearson

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Copyright The Gazette 2000