BHME: Toni Braxton & amp; Babyface’s Love, Marriage, and Divorce Album

old-school-toni-braxton-babyface-are-making-an-album-300x227Black History Month Edition:

It’s been quite a while since R&B diva, Toni Braxton and hit maker, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds were in a recording studio together. In honor of a month solely dedicated to black history, it only makes sense to do a review on a collaboration geared to revisiting the past and making new music. What I love most about this album is that it’s targeted toward the old school 90s audience who may have jammed to “Breathe Again” and “You’re Making Me High” (both songs were written by Babyface) and also to new audiences. The songs are fresh yet infused enough with that old soul that we know and love from them.

Just a little under an hour long, the Love, Marriage and Divorce album opens with “Roller Coaster”, a well fitting title for the emotional roller coaster listeners will endure for the rest of the album. The album goes from hot steamy sex in “Sweat” to the 90s reminiscent hit, “Hurt You” which include lines like, Girl, I never dreamed you’ll cheat on me…God knows I never meant to hurt you to the acoustic ballad, “Where Did We Go Wrong?”.  There’s a lot of cheating going on and accusations of cheating, walking out and ending the relationship, and “Reunit[ing]”. But don’t get me wrong, this album is far from trivial. I believe this album is actually very biographical and personal for both artists. The ups and downs and the seeming incoherency is a testament to all romantic relationships.

1) “Roller Coaster” Feel: A modern, Jennifer Hudson style. Very chilled. It fits Braxton’s mezzo-soprano voice like a glove. Favorite line:  “Today I said some things to you baby/ I don’t like the way it felt/ I’ve been giving you so much attitude/ I guess I really should check myself”.  If only we were that humble to admit!!!

2) “Sweat” Feel: Very neo-soul. A blend of Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. It’s about make-up sex so the style is perfect in my opinion. Favorite line: “If you really want to fight, we can take it to the bed tonight…it’ll be the best fight you ever had”. LOL

3) “Hurt You” Feel: Dramatic in the singing and I said above, very 90s pop. No wonder it’s a hit. Favorite line: “God knows I never meant to hurt you”. I guess you didn’t.

4) “Where Did We Go Wrong?” Feel: An acoustic ballad. I love Toni’s voice here! It’s so fragile yet to powerful. Favorite line: “You thought I cheated…but didn’t you do the same?” No, geesh.

5) “I Hope that You’re Okay” Feel: Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” but the irony is, he’s not talking about loving. Favorite line: “I done thought a lot about it and I think I’m gonna leave today/ But I hope that you’re okay, you know?” Like, hello no I’m not okay! It’s so funny because Babyface sings this line, which is pretty heartbreaking, with such unflinching ease.

6) “Wish” Feel: Another ballad and my favorite! This is Toni Braxton’s baby as in the one of the only songs she sings solo (the previous song was Babyface’s baby).  Favorite line: “I hope she gives you a disease so that you will see/ but not enough to make you die but only make you cry like you did to me”. I can’t help but smile when I hear this song. Toni Braxton can do a good heartbreak song and we know that. Her voice is freakishly perfect.

7) “Take It Back” Feel: Sade. A song about rekindling love, a nice break from all the heartaches.   Favorite line: “If we do not like our story, we can write just the way we want.”

8) “Reunited” Feel: Celine Dion. Celine Dion. I think it would fit perfectly into a black rom com, but from the 90s of course. Favorite line: “Reunited?” Sorry, that’s all I got.

9) “I’d Rather Be Broke” Feel: My second favorite. Actually, bump “Wish” to second. It’s very modern and it feels like a hit. This song might put Toni Braxton back to the top. It has all the right qualities. It’s r&b pop but it doesn’t drown out her distinguishable voice. Favorite line: “Baby I’ve been thinking…I want to be through, I’m sick and tired of you…I’d rather be broke than with you”. #NUFFSAID

10) “Heart Attack” Feel: Almost getting close to modern pop-Daftpunk but not there yet. My least favorite from this album but they’re just having fun with this one. Favorite line: when the song ends…

11) “The D Word” Feel: Darn you, divorce! It would have been cool if the album ended with this one. A slow jams ballad but I doubt couples would want to dance to this. Favorite line: “I’ll always love you, forever think of you. I’ll always want you. Although we’re apart, you’re still on my heart.” I wonder if these lines were just put together because they rhymed well. It’s hard to think of divorced people still wanting each other.

12) “Let’s Do It” Feel: Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, anyone? I love it. Favorite line:  “I hate you boy, I miss your tender kisses.”

13) “One” Feel: Short and sweet. Do I hear another song added to the classic wedding dance list? Favorite line: “One day our day will come when you’ll take my hand and we will breathe as one.”

Score: 8/10

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