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Afrodisiac is sensuous, soulful, even a little gritty, an album that showcases Brandy's passionate voice and announces in no uncertain terms that she's all grown up and knows what she wants. The hot first single, "Talk About Our Love," was produced by and features Kanye West.
After a breakup, childbirth, and a reality show, the one-time teen star finds herself growing up a little more on Afrodisiac. While this isn't a concept album--the songs aren't ordered as such--it's filled with the frustrations and pleasures of Brandy's past few years. At the same time, her vocals are richer than ever, reaching a Blige-like level of expression on "I Tried" and "Who is She 2 U." Timbaland's production on nine cuts anchors the disc; he even makes the title track's sampled baby, a link to his classic work on Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody," belong. The biggest triumph, though, is "Talk About Our Love," pop-soul from Kanye West that could come straight from the summer of '74, even including his rap. Further release comes with Timba's "Sadiddy," an anthemic celebration of being out on the town with a carload of friends. The girl may be older, but she still knows how to have fun. --Rickey Wright
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Brandy, whose melodic, smoky voice has matured, has joined the ranks of fellow R&B songstresses Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill with this CD. This is a very mature offering from Brandy and I am glad she went in this direction. She put her heart and soul into this effort, and it's evident from start to finish. Although she only co-wrote one song ("Finally"), the songs are open, honest and extremely personal reflections of what she has weathered over the past few years and where she is right now. She sings about love lost and found, passion, sacrifice, heartache, betrayal and indecision...and if you've been following the singer's career, then you know that she has definitely lived every one of those things! "Who I Am", the opening cut, lets you know right off the bat just what happened in the relationship with her daughter's father - but she's grateful for that experience.
For the most part, I think her teaming up with Timbaland (who produced most of AFRODISIAC) is a great move and gives the former teen diva a fresh, mature, sensual and gritty new sound. As I said before, I wasn't really feeling "Talk About Our Love" and also "Where You Wanna Be" (featuring the rapper T.I.), both produced by the overhyped Kanye West. IMO those were the two weakest cuts on the CD. I guess Atlantic Records thought that since Kanye was hot last year, a collaboration with him would make these songs guaranteed hits. Not so. They are okay, but the songs with Timbaland are far superior, and any of those would have been a better choice!
AFRODISIAC does remind you very much of an Aaliyah CD, true, but that's due to Timbaland, who worked extensively with the late vocalist. There are also a couple of tracks that bring to mind Janet Jackson's work in her prime ("Necessary", "How I Feel"). It boasts mostly bass-heavy dance cuts, but it also has its share of sweet, mellow ballads as well. With clever samples from tunes by such diverse artists as Roberta Flack, Coldplay and Iron Maiden, this CD kicks. My favorite songs are "Afrodisiac", "Who Is She 2 U", "I Tried" (one of the best songs on the entire CD!), "Focus" (which should have been back to back with "I Tried" on this CD, since they have a similar feel), "Turn It Up", "Come As You Are", "Say You Will", "Finally", and closing out the CD, "Should I Go", a tribute to both Coldplay and Aaliyah, and serious contemplation over whether or not being in the recording industry matters to her anymore.
If you didn't think much of Brandy as an artist before, this is the CD that will make you change your mind. You can honestly play this CD all the way through without skipping over anything, it's that good! She had said in a magazine interview that FULL MOON was her CONTROL album (in reference to Janet Jackson's groundbreaking hit album of the mid-80s), but AFRODISIAC seems to fall more into that category than anything else. A must have! Pick it up!