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5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Toni's Finest Overall Albums, October 24, 2010
This review is from: Heat (Audio CD)
For a woman of her vocal and stylistic depth and ability Toni Braxton's first two releases seemed to find her very comfortable on big ballads and having to work with somewhat awkward uptempo material. It wasn't for lack of trying but it would'nt seem as if the musical balance she was going for really came to it's full flower until this third album came along. With musicians such as Nathan East,Greg Phillinganes along with Rodney Jerkins helping out the Babyface/L.A Reid production team out on the creative end this album finds a strong balance between rhythm,flow and good production taste for music that easily finds itself placed firmly in the turn of the millenium R&B context but also has a distinctive edge for the most part that sets it apart from what everyone else was doing-at a time where so many contemporary R&B artists were more or less imitating eachother. While "Spanish Guitar" tells you so it's not the only song on this album the blends light midtempo Caribbean pop/R&B rhythms but also a similar type of flemenco-like guitar sound. As usual Toni is very much an important part of the music as the production. Her trademark low,smokey style wraps itself like creamy smooth silk in and around the songs. Not only is the confidantly longing nature of her lyrics very appropriate to her style but on songs such as "He Wasn't Man Enough",the title song","The Art Of Love" and "Never Just For A Ring" the music and her interpretive approch vocally creates a very potent and (in fact) steamy whole so the album really does live up to it's title. The uptempo "Gimme Some",featuring one of the finale performances of TLC's Left Eye is one of the few bonnified uptempo numbers on the album and while highly contemporary in the Destiny's Child sense of the word the same strengh of everything else here applies. Every song on this album is strong from ballads such as "I'm Still Breathing" to yet more midtempo sendups of romantic confidence such as "Just Be A Man About It" but this is one of a few rare contemporary R&B albums that not only flows well musically but is more powerful as a full on album as opposed to a showcase for hit singles. Much in the manner of albums such as Aaliyah and others around this time that was quite an accomplishment for this era and did wonders for the already commercially and often creatively successful career of Toni Braxton.
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Heat by Toni Braxton (Audio CD - 2000)
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