Toni Braxton delivers Libra
nearly a decade after she busted up the R&B landscape with her gut-wrenching appeal, on 1996's Secrets,
that a wayward lover un-break her heart. Back then, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds was helming her records, and with his sound came a certain spun-silk smooth, wistful sensibility. Braxton may have been one of his better students, but Babyface's sound didn't hold up (for proof, check his own 2005 disc, Grown & Sexy
). Where some breathy, smoky-voiced sirens might have called it a day, scampering off into career obscurity with their six Grammys in tow, Braxton resists the temptation to quit or to satiate the faithful with a yawny record; Libra,
more than just a vehicle for evolving, adapting, and overcoming, is among the freshest, most tastefully done R&B discs to come out in 2005. Highlights belong strictly to the first half, with opener "Please" swinging wide the door for what will universally be recognized as this disc's two best tracks: "Trippin' (That's the Way Love Works)" belongs to that oft-strived-for league of songs that merit the tag "irresistible," and "Take this Ring," with its blaxploitation-film soundtrack effects, splices in just enough funk--and the right kind--to fuel a thousand replays. --Tammy La Gorce
With one of the most distinctive and recognizable voices in contemporary music, the beautiful Toni Braxton returns to the international marketplace with the 2005 release of Libra, her sizzling debut set for Blackground/Universal Records. Libra - acknowledging the singer's October 7 birth date - represents a new milestone in an achievement-filled career, completing a three-year hiatus from recording for TONI. An eagerly-anticipated follow-up to her top-selling CD, More Than A Woman, the new album finds the multiple Grammy award-winning artist delivering material that reflects her creative maturity. With a musical nod to the kind of finely-crafted songs that first propelled her to global fame over a decade ago, Libra strikes the perfect balance between today's radio friendly grooves (exemplified by the album's hot first single, 'Please') and 'old school' flavored slow jams (such as 'Stupid' and 'Midnite'), giving the multi-talented entertainer a new opportunity to bring her instantly-recognizable vocal style back to the forefront.