Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY KYLE MURRAY, CLASS OF 2013 —
Eighteen years after the release of her first album, R&B star Brandy Norwood tries to stay relevant in an industry where the young and fresh dominate the airwaves.
After the release of her last project ‘Human’ flopped, selling only 214,000 copies to date, the singer has been quietly working on re-inventing herself. Four years later, and backed by a new label, she’s taking control of her sound, and is attempting to make a comeback with 2012’s ‘Two Eleven.’
The album starts off with the second single released “Wildest Dreams”. It’s an upbeat love song with a 90’s feel to it, said to be dedicated to the singer’s current beau, music executive Ryan Press. The singer speaks of an abundant love, and being at a place in her life she never thought she would be. The beat is catchy and puts the artist in her comfort zone, making it arguably one of the strongest songs on the album.
The singer also showcases her vocals in ballads like “No Such Thing As Too Late”, reaching a range I never knew she was capable of. The song resembles the singer’s “Have You Ever” from the ‘Never Say Never’ album in that it’s lyrics reflect a girl yearning for love.
“So take your time / cause love ain’t got nowhere to go / it will be way better if we wait,” she sings on the empowering chorus.
Straying away from her traditional style, Brandy desperately tries to fit in with the new generation of artists with up tempo club songs like “Put It Down”, a collaboration with 23- year- old Chris Brown. The artist adds some new sass and attitude and even gets some radio play with this single, but ultimately still falling flat in my book.
Overall, the singer delivered an ‘okay’ album, nothing more, nothing less. Thanks to the help of producers like Bangledesh, Rico Love, and Sean Garrett, “Two Eleven” is by no means lacking bass-bumping rhythms and sing along melodies. However, it is missing a level of depth and intimacy we’ve seen in previous efforts like “Human” or her biggest album, “Never Say Never”, a standard that Brandy herself has set, yet cannot reach.
Putting out an album at this stage in a career involves a lot of pressure for an artist. Fans expect music veterans to meet these high, maybe unrealistic, expectations and singers are lucky if they get more than one chance to prove themselves. Brandy is one of those artists lucky enough to have that chance.
A comeback can be successful in two ways: You get a radio hit (which she does not have) or you produce something lyrically deep and relatable hoping its message will reach the masses (which she fails to do as well). In a world where pop stars like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé rule the charts, Brandy fails to prove she has what it takes to stand the test of time and compete against the best of the best.
I give the album a 7.5/10.