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Album review: Brandy's 'Human'

Brandy_240_2 Brandy hasn't released a new album since 2004's "Afrodisiac," but she's hardly spent the last four years in obscurity: In 2006 the 29-year-old singer-actor was involved in a traffic accident on the 405 Freeway that killed another driver, and though she's been cleared of all criminal charges, she still faces a $50-million wrongful-death suit filed by the dead woman's family.

Given its moody melodies and midtempo beats -- not to mention lyrics like, "I make mistakes but I can't turn back time / I'm only human, forgive me," from the title track -- it's hard not to hear "Human" as Brandy's musical response to that experience.

Unfortunately, it's also hard to make it through the thing. Brandy's strong suit has never been her thoughtfulness; appropriately for someone with her Hollywood history, she's long been one of R&B's emptiest vessels, a gorgeous voice used by a series of gifted producers (including Rodney Jerkins, Timbaland and Kanye West) to communicate their own unique ideas.

In "I Tried," one of the best cuts on "Afrodisiac," when Brandy sings about wanting to hear some Coldplay, Timbaland ingeniously weaves an interpolation of the band's music into the track.

On "Human" you can hear Brandy striving (understandably) to express herself, yet the result rarely rises above diary-entry tedium. "The whole world is freezing / Need to warm it up with love," she pleads at one point. The few highlights come when Jerkins, who helmed most of the album, including the catchy lead single, "Right Here [Departed]," manages to dial down Brandy's introspection and increase the groove factor.

-- Mikael Wood

One and a half stars

Comments () | Archives (47)

This is what i've been wating 4................................BRANDY IZ BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This review wasn't very thoughtful and it is undoubtedly biased against Brandy
Interestingly enough you managed to review her four-year old album 'Afrodisiac' more thoroughly than 'Human'
The album is great and I recommend it to anyone who wants music with a message
The reviewer Mikael Wood , just wants to dance
Too bad for him

Human in stores December 9. 2008!!!

I LUV THIS ALBUM, it is good (LIKE ALL HER MUSIC) frm start-finish, BRANDY IS AWESUM!, luv her...

Yep.... The album is so nice and I think when you listen to it you can that she has grown.... The reviewer is hating... shame on you....They need to get another person who can review albums without bias and.....I am not even a huge fan and I know the album is great.....

being both a music critic and fan i was disappointed in this. you obviously were biased and didn't listen to the entire album as you don't offer a thoughtful comment on it other than i want to dance. she took the right approach and addressed how troubling the last years had been, while adding spice. unlike britney who has all spice and no thoughtfulness. sometimes i want to hear pain and emotion in my music. not just dance and shake my bum. worst review i've read period. and actually the only negative one i've read. shame.

i agree with the comments above. How you going to break down a 4 year old cd and not the new one. At least give more reasons other than i want to hear dancing type of music cause not all music is about that. Great cd, a true singer singing about real everyday life issues unlike others.

this review makes me upset because i listened to all of her songs and it made me cry knowin that shes been threw so much. why would u feel like dancin when you have the type of problems she has. theres nothin to dance about!!! by Brandy is just so genious that she gives us her problems for us to understand but at the same time give us that music we can relate to so great jobs to you BRANDY!!!!!!!!

I don't know what this review is about the critic is on some more stuff. Brandy is back in big way and right where she belongs. The first single is great and even better when performed live. This album is classic Brandy ruthless emotion purged into evry song. As I fan I am pleased with the large selection of tracks. The second single is a sure thing it's definietly her next hit. I don't think the world is ready for the storm that's approching but we must embrace Brandy cause she's back in a big way.

Human is a really good CD! I love the fact that Brandy doesnt go in the direction of whats hott today & just does her!

Human- damn near made me cry
Fall- hott shyt
The Definition- shytz on anything out now

Bitch put her azz in this cd...

1.5? come on...

She sounded more heartfelt and true on the (almost) masterpiece AFRODISIAC. This album is half attempts at hit singles to make her some money.....and of course the standard R&B filler. I don't understand the reputed "magic" or "chemistry" between her and Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins at all. All of his songs for her sound artificial....like she could be singing a demo for someone else (I thought of Rihanna more than once during listening to this). Timbaland did a much better job of creating an atmosphere for here voice to live in, reflecting the emotions she was expressing. ALSO....she didn't produce any of her own vocals for this album which, if you're a fan who is in the know, is really apparent. I was checking the liner notes saying to myself "she couldn't have chose to sing it this way....." Basically someone wrote the songs for her, which is fine. But then someone told her how to sing them....which is.........? I hardly connected with this cd at all. . . and I love R&B!......I think it's funny how anyone who has a negative opinion about something is automatically labled a "hater" .....maybe THE ALBUM JUST ISN'T VERY GOOD...... I won't be listening to this very much after this week......1.5 stars seems just right.

Brandy's new is tight. espically her song warm it up. I'm addicted to that song!! I'm tryin to buy her album.

This review doesn't even comment on the track listing? It talks more or less about her past and tabloid type commentary? I cannot believe that editors actually approved this review to be uploaded? It's a bloody album review? I'd rather the reviewer comment on the album and give their honest opinion rather than "hollywood" news reading.

You obviously have no taste... The chemistry between Darkchild and Brandy is undeniable... Who hired you? Do you even listen to music? Do you know what RnB stands for?? 1.5 stars?? come on now... Go clean out your ears and come again...

This album is classic, Brandy is severly under-rated (which is obvious by this shameful attempt at a review) but she is going to continue to put out life-altering music no matter what the haters say.

PLEASE quit your day job ;)

Forgive them Mikael and their ignorance. I totally stand behind your review. Some of these people have not taken the time to remove themselves as Brandy fanatics and actually listen to the album with open ears. I am a Brandy enthusiast but agree that the album lacks depth from her 2004 work which is arguably her best work to date. Darkchild insists on continuing the "fluff" that surrounded "Full Moon" with "Human", serving as the executive producer on her latest LP which slowly drags for 45 minutes. You can use the word "Love" oh so many times and this album pounds it into the pavement. Perhaps I would not be so critical if the album were titled, "Love". Although I am glad that Brandy has risen to the occasion, given the circumstances revolving around her circa the past 2 years but she has definitely not arrived. I'll be nicer Mikael...2 Stars...it's still a failing grade.

Say it. Brandy's sound has truly evolved. She's allowed herself to be an instrument, this album has inspired me and I'm glad I remember what real music sounds like.

It looks like many of the critic here may not be in tune to music. This album is spectacular, you can start the CD and let it ride all the way through. You dont get those impulses to skip to next song. Its almost a completed thougt project, you know the ones that hit every part of a persons life and makes you say thats so true. her melodic raspy high's yet soulfully smooth mid and lows provide a full spectrum of tone and timbr thats refreshing these days of either all this raspy (fantansia, to forceful *beyonce,aguilara).or dry mariah. I know i affended alot of ppl when i say this but its prolly the ones that need it nice and simple ....you know like, all my single ladies, and voguing and boody poppy showing pelvic bones in leotards. but hey if you want a good CD of RELEVENT not FANTASY songs then Brandy is the CD to get. BUT.. Human may just be too Human for a lot of Posers out there living beyond there means

Are you kidding me? This is one of the best albums of 2008. Every song on this album is a reflection of her experiences. Her voice is passionate, clear and so mature. How could you even do a review without mentioning A Capella (Something's Missing). This song is Brandy at her finest. Raw and uncut with nothing extra. Brandy is a true talent and not many can compare. One of R&B's emptiest vessels? How can you not feel the emotion and passion in her music? The reviewer has to be no more than 14 years old. No appreciation for an artist's craft.

hot album its the best r & b album we have had in 4 years

This review is laughable.

This is the most horrible and biased review I have ever read! Don't do another review, PLEASE! Brandy's new album (Human) is really good, especially for someone who has been out of the musical limelight for 4 years. Just listen to the album and you will know...God Bless!

Music is of expression, and i feel she express her joys & pains all on this album. I have always love her music, she keeps it relevant to true emotions of life experiences. I always can sing all her songs and feel the vibe behind the music & really relate to the lyrics. True i love afrodisiac but I'm loving the growth on human. The sound & melody is motivating for me to appreciate the small things. I can play this from beginning to end. She sings a story of feelings that i can fore sure relate to. Because i am human. And to all the haters who wants to here more loud strong sounds & aggressions. Open you window or turn on the news, and listens to screams & cries. Don't always sound good. All artist in the music industry have different sounds to offer when it comes music. Brandy has giving me true melodies always. So best luck to girl! Take the negative and use as your biggest strength. God bless deuces!

I don't know what this reviewer actually listened to, but it certainly could not have been Brandy's latest album "Human". The review was straight trash and couldn't be further from the truth.

This album is one of the best I have heard this year and definitely one of my favorites. Brandy's voice has gotten even stronger, is so plush and beautiful and it weaves, riffs and runs effortlessly through every track. MAGIC!

This reviewer needs to put down whatever he/she/it is smoking or sipping on and get real!

Brandy hits a home run and then some on this offering - finally B-Rocka is back and she DOESN'T disappoint! This lame reviewer needs to find another line of work, cause clearly, it ain't cut out for reviewing albums.

I'm so glad to see my girl Brandy getting so much love!!! everything I have watched or read about this album has been positive until I saw this garbage..these haters on this page dont kno what they're talking about...
this album is brandys best to date and her most mature..u can truly put her voice up there with all the greats!! shes realer than ever..and if anything I would say this is the most heartfelt album to date..no collaberations jus Brandy raw..
Im a singer and I kno when I hear her she got real talent..I mean did this guy even hear..Track 5: piano man...It is so amazing and one of the most unique on the album..and also Track 13: a capella (somethings missing)..there are no words for how amazing this track is
people even on here here hating because brandys voice has gotten better..How can u say that somene is telling her how to sing? u make me sick..im sure she works with a vocal coach and there aint nothing wrong w/ that..she feelin everything shes sayin
I love my girl and Im so happy to see her back..I mean honestly what other album do u see getting 99% positive comments..best of '08
We love you Brandy

all i can say is that BRANDY is back. i like her approach to the music industry. CLASS and ELEGANCE. she trully STEP the game up with this cd. It's a pure MASTERPIECE. from the intro to the outro. It's so hard to pick the next single. When you think you like one song the next one sneaks up on you. Warm It Up,Camoflouge,Torn Down,Human,Shattered Heart(my favorite),A Capella are all HITZ.

Brandy return should be an example to all pioneers that return. Come back Strong. You can hear Brandy's growth. Growth = Change

I was never a really big fan of Brandy's. I've always liked her music but was never pressed to go buy her album.. But wen she came out wit Right Here Departed, i jus found a new love for her an yea i went on on december 9th an bought da album.. dis is her best album yet she shows expression an emotion in her songs. its music yu can relate to an listen to wen yu feel ah certain way an not just an anthem like Beyonce's "Diva" or Ashanti's "Good Good". Brandy is a great artist an apparently da reviewer doesn kno good music or didn pay attention to da album.. dis album deserves 5 stars .ot 1.5.. come on now! GO BRANDY!!!!

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