OnLoop 5.6.10

Posted: May 6, 2010 by RA in Music, On Loop
Tags: , , , ,

Hands Tied – Toni Braxton – 2010
I heard this a month or two ago and I wasn’t impressed. Perhaps I was just distracted by the video — a pedestrian offering in which the smokin-hot Braxton (along with her relevance-chasing haircut) tries her hand at a number of female-video staples: the gentleman’s club performer (exemplified by this En Vogue classic), the “Classy Stripper,”  the moving Liebovitz portrait. She looks incredible, but it’s still a ho-hum affair.

So when the album finally got its release this past Tuesday, I figured I’d give it a shot. I recently discovered a soft spot for Toni B. It goes beyond my cliched support for the talented underdog. You see, for me, unless you’re Minnie Riperton or Mariah Carey, your high notes as a female vocalist really don’t impress me.  But if you’re able to go low, and do it right — like Braxton, Anita Baker, and Carey again (Shakira used to be on that list, but her freakish “AutoTune-Unplugged” voice has started grating on my nerves) — you have a special place in my heart.

Toni Braxton has never been someone I looked to for full-album satisfaction, so the fact that Pulse ain’t doin’ shit doesn’t particularly surprise me. Plus, I never got the impression she had full label backing, anyway. Still, no matter how abysmal it is as a cohesive entity, every album she’s put out has had some serious burners — from “Just Be A Man About It” to “Talking in His Sleep” to “Trippin'”

So as I browsed the album for halfway-decent shit worth a download, I realized “Hands Tied” is literally the strongest thing on there. It’s a smoldering, Oak-produced cut with a vocal performance reminiscent of her Babyface-assisted heyday, and a guitar-wail undercurrent that marries her “Trippin'” and Usher’s “You Got it Bad” to brilliant effect.

If the rest of the album had half as much kick, it wouldn’t have flatlined.

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Comments
  1. Kia says:

    I found my way here via racialicious & have really enjoyed what I’ve read so far.

    Couldn’t agree more about Toni, she’s very hit or miss for me as well. Between the hair, cat suit with cut outs & multiple Wendy Williams show appearances, I wonder how bad her current financial situation is.

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