BRANDY - TWO ELEVEN
Review By Roger Hooks, Jr.
Since, here at TheFlowOnline.com we feel R&B and Hip Hop go together like Greens and Ham Hocks we decided to take a look, at Brandy's latest album release 'Two Eleven' a few weeks after our initial impression of the album. TheFlowOnline decided to take some time to let the album sink in. Let is marinate as we say. At first impression however, the album is a solid creation by the seasoned performer providing the listener with a classic R&B vocal performances absent of today's tendency to rely on gimicky electronic fallback and "fad"-ulous production trends. Being the 6th album in this artist' collection of creative work she definitely displays a comfort in the sound she wants her fans to hear. It's been four years since Brandy released her last Album but Two Eleven proves to be certainly worth the wait.
Track 1: Intro
The intro "A throwback to the interludes that populated albums like "Never Say Never" and "Full Moon," as stated by Erika Ramirez in 'The Juice column. This allows the album to break out in a hard hitting rhythmic Hip Hop instrumental that could have easily played home for any one of a slew of Rap Artists, in this case, Eminem comes to mind.
Track 2: Wildest Dreams
Brandy's second track 'Wildest Dreams' written by Sean Garrett , Justin Henderson, and Christopher Whitaker was produced by 'The Bizzness' Garrett. It's a cool'n-out, medium paced ballad with a catchy hook that suew to have you singing along. "Never in my wildest dreams that I think someone could care about me". It can be surely be included in that nice and smooth ride up the coast with that significant other.
Track 3: "So Sick"
Written by Garret and Shondrae Crawfordand produced by Bangladesh delivers on Brandy's signature sound of a mature alto overlaid with whispery soprano falsettos. She tells of the journey when one gives selflessly in a relationship but with no return regard, yet despite the relentless effort of selfless affection the end result continues to be the same to the point of becoming 'So Sick'. The song hits which helps drive its point home. 'Sick".
Track 4: Slower
Slower is the first of two songs written by Chris Breezy. (Chris Brown). in complete character synonymous with Chris Brown sexual entrendres, 'Slower' takes you on a often familiar path unusual to Brandy's affection for classy delivery. Yet the song still offers a sensual experience as Brandy cautions her admirer to take it 'Slower'.. "If you take your time then we can do whatever, Watchu think we in here for, Baby we got all night so don't rush it, And you gon get the reaction you wanted." 'Slower'... also written by Brandy, Amber Streeter, and Dave Taylor. Produced by Switch.
Track 5: There's No Such Thing as Too Late
If you keep it real this song speaks to both the fellas and the females to give love time. No need to rush into it because Love has nowhere to go. If you really love somebody you can wait. There's no such thing as too late. In Track 5, Brandy delivers on a classic ballad with power and grace in an altoistic performance while climbing to her familiar falsetto sopranoisms to give the song range and interest that only Brandy delivers. Written by Richard Butler, James Scheffer, Daniel Morris, Jim Jonsin, Mr. Morris and produced by Rico Love.
Track 6: Let Me Go.
Here Brandy samples Lykke Li's "Tonight". This song jumps off as a bit of a slumping club banger sprinkled with poppy over tones. It depicts her infatuation with her love interest in a playful flirty delivery. "Make me wanna act like I just can't remember, If mama saw this side of me, She would be on twitter, (saying), You know I didn't raise you that way." This song was written by Crawford, Garrett, Lykke Zachrisson, and Bjorn Yttling. Produced by Bangladesh and Sean Garrett.
Track 7: Without
If Keyshia Cole has built her career on being the missing link between Brandy and Mary J. Blige, this is Brandy's attempt to reclaim some of that territory. Featuring co-writing credits from Harmony Samuels (who also penned Cole's current single "Enough of No Love") and twinkling piano reminiscent of Blige's "No More Drama," "Without You" is the kind of ballad you'd hear all over R&B radio in the late 90s. It may lack the sheer vocal heft of her peers, but Brandy delivers a confident, restrained performance here worthy of its own kind of praise.
Track 8: Put it Down
Some critics aren't so keen on this track but this is a Hip Hop site and we like it when an R&B artist puts a bit of swagger into their track. Written by Dwayne "Dem Jointz" Abernathy, Chris Brown, Crawford and Garret. Produced by Bangladesh, Sean Garrett, and "Dem Jointz". Brandy comes in similar fashion that takes a liking to the delivery made famous by the late Aaliyah. I can certainly see this track hitt'n in the club. If you looking for a singing track that hits with the swag of Hip Hop this track will deliver. I can see you ladies roll'n in the Lac with your lean on and your brim tilted to the side. When it's time to roll out this is the track you role to, "Put it Down".
Track 9: Hardly Breathing
Written by Butler and Pierre Medor. Produced by Rico Love and Medor. If you like Slow Jams here is semi-slow joint that won't drag you down as Brandy toils between falling or not falling in love. As she says... This old heart of mine won't let you break it.
Track 10: Do You Know What You Have
This track asks the age old question. "Do you know what you have here?" This slow jam slaps of an old classic from back on the day. I myself can picture this as the soundtrack to the lingerie turning the corner far off down the hall as I slip my tie off from the long days work. Ahhhh...the start of a beautiful evening. This song was written by Garrett, Norwood, Prescott, Pierre Slaughter and Michael Williams. Produced by Mike WiLL Made It and P-Nasty
Track 11: Scared of Beautiful
Brandy attacks the track in with a low tenor vocal performance then climbs into her signature alto range. This song dives into the singer's past eating disorders and inability to accept her natural beauty. It's an excellent track reaching out to those who struggle with the image of which they view themselves. Written by Frank Ocean and Warryn Campbell. Produced by Warryn Campbell, Prescott.
Track 12: Wish Your Love Away
Written by Brandon Ramon Johnson, Tiyon "TC" Mack, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Mario Winans, Produced by Mario Winans, Brandon Ramon Johnson. This track possesses a delivery and acoustics akin to the 90s making a sure throwback favorite of veteran Brandy Fans. This song speaks of love while not receiving deserving love in return as the song states... "And everything you're giving just ain't enough for me"
Track 13: Paint This House
Being that I've just bought a new house, I can relate to this slow groove. Brandy gives a sensual tantalyzing performance describing her unending love making escapade throughout the entire house. "And I want these stairs, those walls, Kitchen counters, and those chairs, to remind you of these floors and ceilings, And every hallway (yeah), Let's paint this house with our love." Written by Butler, Eric Goody II, Earl Hood, Medor and Produced by Rico Love, Earl, E., and Piere Medor
If you download the "Deluxe Version" of the Album you will get additional tracks, "Can you Hear Me Now?", "Music", and "What You Need" before the Outro.
Track 14: Can you Hear Me Now?
Brandy delivers yet another seductive track in a deep tenor and low alto range. The track moves deliberately and swiftly to the action..."And when I'm almost there I start making that sound."
Track 15: Music
This is smooth groove up tempo ballad titled "Music" with a rhythmic acoustic capturing Brandy's love and adoration for her love interest. "I can't live without you... I'm so glad I got you... Right by my side... I'm crazy about you.
Track 16: What you need
Brandy is truly displaying her sexuality as a woman again with this steamy track. The song delivers on a combination of Hip Hop bong sound treatments and ballad-esque vocals. The song is an interesting combination of a stringy slow/mid tempo groove and a bouncy dance track.
The outro finishes up the album in similar fashion to how it began. It serves as an upbeat booked to conclude the Two-Eleven. All in all the album is a symbol of true R&B absent of the gimmicky out takes that are so often sprinkled into every supposed R&B project released in recent years. Brandy has deliver for both new and old fans with a right combination of classic and contemporary in true R&B fashion.