Brandy Update #42

Hello everybody! People must be back at work and from vacation! Hope your holidays were as great as mine! I enjoyed my family and friends! I’m sure Brandy had a nice break! For her, it will be back to work promoting the album. Wikipedia, which to some is an unreliable source, reports that Brandy has sold a little over 170K copies in the US.The estimate based on Billboard placement was around 130K so thats definitely better news. Soundscan is the authority in this area so until their numbers come out, I won’t believe any!

is will be a huge year for Brandy who is set to release the album in Japan inFebruary. The album has been doing really well oversees. It debuted at #3 in South Africa and #13 in Canada. Both singles have been seeing increase in spins in early January which might be a good sign. Right Here (Departed) is gaining on Pop stations and doing EXTREMELY well on Hot Adult Contemporary. Long Distance agins about 10 new spins a day of late.. its a slow burn. I expect that Epic will make a move with Long Distance soon. Not sure what that move will be! We need to get the video voted on 106 & park though. That will be out job!

CHeck out the Houston Chronicle Album Review!

By JOEY GUERRA Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Jan. 2, 2009, 1:51PM

Brandy’s sonic influence can be heard, if you listen carefully, in present-day hits from Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The Moesha star was one of the ’90s biggest R&B divas and channels some recent personal drama into Human, an engrossing listen and Brandy’s first disc since 2004’s unfairly overlooked Afrodisiac. Brandy has kept a low profile since her involvement in a 2006 car crash that claimed a life. But she’s pressing forward musically — and looking backward. Human reunites her with producer Rodney Jerkins, and he fits her like a velvet glove. The title track is a haunting, gorgeously worded confessional (“What are you afraid of girl, the future or the past?”), and Long Distance is a symphonic power ballad in the vein of Have You Ever?, one of her biggest hits. Camouflage is her galloping, flaws-and-all declaration of self, and Piano Man has a robotic quiver that lapses into a sing-along chorus. She even gives those normally cheesy, spoken-word interludes some unexpected conviction. Human bleeds with some vulnerability and turmoil, but it’s a vibrant, hopeful experience. 3/4 Stars (Link)

The third single for the album is being discussed by the label heavily. An insider says there is a positive conflict between Piano Man and True. Fans have to remember that the lable doesn’t look at the song most people like but the song that will have the most crossover potential. Brandy has struggled at Urban and Rythmic and done okay in Pop. Seems like Piano man is the best option although its a risk if Rythmic has given up on B! We shall see!

Daily Music Guide gets in on the album reviews!

Human is Brandy’s first release on new label Epic, having split with Atlantic in 2005. This explains the four-year delay between work. In terms of production, while Timbaland didn’t make it, there are some heavyweight credits. These include Rodney Jenkins (Spice Girls, Whitney Houston) and RedOne (New Kids on the Block, Akon), whose influence is reflected in  fashionable dance tracks such as ‘Piano Man’.

‘Piano Man’ is indeed backed up by a beat reminiscent of Usher’s ‘Love In This Club’. It’s a trick all RnB artists worth their salt are exploring these days. And it works very well, somewhat masking Norwood’s voice into dance-orientated loops over an over-powering beat.

First single ‘Right Here (Departed)’ is a a typically-produced contemporary track with a booming beat ensconced over a piano-driven upbeat rhythm. The production complements Brandy’s soulful and powerful vocals and somewhat liberates them more so than on earlier work like ‘The Boy Is Mine’ and ‘Sittin’ On Top Of The World’. Brandy’s new label clearly plays to the songstress’ strengths.

The album features two interludes which feature Norwood emphasizing her thoughts on human existence and then detailing the problems of a long-distance relationship. The direction is mature (she is 29 now, you know), but the result isn’t anything outside of the genre. ‘Long Distance’ focuses on the toils of such a union and features another secret production weapon – the strings, which kick in towards the end.

‘Camouflage’ is a ballad which once more plays to Brandy’s strengths in the emotional vocal department. ‘Torn Down’ also follows in this mould, with a little bit of production flair thrown in for playability. Fans of the singer certainly won’t be disappointed with this effort, though fans of the music might be disappointed to see that whilst the lyrics sound so personal, Brandy herself is only responsible for two of them (title track ‘Human’ and ender ‘Fall’, which includes our own Natasha Bedingfield on the credits).

‘Human’ is much more mature in tone than the other tracks written for her. It is a close-to-the-bone personal assessment. Stripped of all production tricks, it’s amazing how a piece of personal input sounds so much more real than a whole album of penned tracks, albeit decent ones.

That, in the end, is the story of this album. It’s modern RnB and a strong yet unspectacular return from a supremely talented singer.

Rating: 4/5 (Link)


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