One of the hardest things to do as a writer, blog or otherwise, is remaining totally and completely unbiased when reporting. As the saying goes, “that’s easier said than done,” definitely applies here. Brandy Norwood or Brandy [to the masses] has had a rollercoaster career. Despite all of her success, and this is why I previously said being unbiased is easier said than done, Brandy to me has always been a mediocre/average singer and lacked that “IT” factor. She definitely has had a career full of accolades for her accomplishments and im by no means trying to take away from that. However, as the 2000s have proven, Brandy has been relegated to the category of people arent overjoyed at the news of hearing that you have new music, nobody is checking for you. She is a very boring as a celebrity and her lack of buzz doesn’t help at all. She shares this home with other 90’s early 2000’s artist like Ashanti, Omarion and dare I say, Monica. All of the aforementioned artist are either working on a new album, waiting to release a new album or recently released a new album. They are all hoping that they can reinvigorate their careers in the way that Mariah Carey did when she released her critically acclaimed “The Emancipation of MIMI.” Now this album or project has been a long tedious labor of love for Brandy. Label changes, underwhelming singles and a new found drive and excitement in life has culminated in the braggadocious, potent Two Eleven. Anybody that dabbles in cheap liquor and beer knows that 211 is not to be played with and the ultimate question is, since Brandy has named her album after a drink that’s designed to get you messed up quickly and cheaply, is this the shot in the arm that R&B is in need of?
History has proven that Brandy can drop hot singles and can produce good albums. However, the 2000’s [in my opinion] have not been kind to her because she fell off severely and had it not been for Ray J, Brandy would have been relegated to the “Where Are They Now” specials on VH1. This album has continued that pattern with its lead single “Put It Down” feat Chris Brown. This uptempo club driven song has reached #2 on the Billboard charts and shows that this album is not one to just collect dust or to use as a coaster. She then dropped her latest single, “Wildest Dreams” and its slowly starting to get airplay and spins. However, this single is a reflection of the majority of the album. Its ok and shows promise but just isn’t quite there yet. The album shows her growth as a woman and not just an artist and she shows this vulnerability and strength in the Frank Ocean penned “Scared of Beautiful.” This is my absolute favorite song on the album followed by “No Such Thing As Too Late” and “Can You Hear Me Now.” These two songs resonate the advice Mary J Blige gave on the Voice this past week, “If you can’t hit the note, sing the note with emotion and feeling. The words speak for themselves but make us believe them because you believe them.” Outside of these tracks the album is average, the production sounds very dated in places and the album slows in parts. I have found that this album rings true to the notion that what you are going through in life affects the emotions and perceptions evoked from music. This album gets a C+/B- rating from me.
This is definitely going to be a sleeper album and will creep up on you slowly but will not blow you away. As previously stated, im not the biggest fan of Brandy but I admire her work ethic and in order for me to enjoy the album I focused on the lyrical content. I allowed myself to really listen to the story being told and not the vessel being used. Go show Brandy some love and cop Two Eleven! Brandy aint done yet and with a little more work and a few tweaks to her public persona she will be back on top of the game.