Almost SoS: 2002 – Brandy’s “Full Moon”

Posted: July 11, 2010 by RA in Music

Brandy vs. NellySong of the Summer: “Hot in Herre” by Nelly
The undisputed champ of the summer of ’02 was Nelly’s Neptunes-created scorcher. It had the suggestive premise, catchy hook, and the catchy line to be repeated/patomimed at parties (“Girl, I think my butt gettin’ big!”). Laid-back yet thoroughly danceable, its subject matter was salacious enough for teenage boys, but delivered in a manner just playful enough to make it a favorite at wedding receptions across the country. In terms of what we’ve come to understand the SoS to be, this was a perfect (and thoroughly deserving) winner.

Almost SoS: “Full Moon” by Brandy
I was never a Brandy fan. From the early days of her supposed rivalry with Monica (before they savvily capitalized on it for the ’98 S0S “The Boy is Mine”), I always preferred the more street-smart Monica. Youth will do that to you. But history will show Brandy always had the stronger catalog of work, and it was this Quiet Storm stroke of brilliance that put her on my radar as a talent worth watching. Much of America had always been on Team Brandy, so they needed no real convincing here.

Still, from its keyboard introduction, to the pulsating hum that carries the song, to the combination of the two on the chorus, this cut would have been perfectly brilliant as an instrumental on Urban Adult Contemporary radio. But Brandy’s coy, then yearning vocals made this a multi-format smash. Or at least, they should have.

Why it Could’ve Been:
Brandy was a household name and a Pop juggernaut at the time. Sure, her absence since 1998/’99 had broken her momentum some, but with an utterly infectious record and the full support of Atlantic Records (who considered her their biggest priority), this single was primed for success.

Why it Wasn’t:
Mother Nature. Brandy got knocked up by unknown producer and Darkchild affiliate Robert “Big Bert” Smith, and couldn’t promote the record. She was already six months pregnant when she shot the video, which meant she couldn’t compete with the Britneys and Aguileras on TRL, nor could she keep the insomniac “Good Morning America to Letterman” pace required on the promo trail. While the single peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, it faded much earlier than it deserved. Still, the video provides endless entertaiment for the myriad tricks they employ to hide Brandy’s belly — apparently audiences might not have responded well to a pregnant chick trying to pick up some strange dude at a party. Prudes.

But considering she was in a family way before releasing even the first single off the album, you have to wonder what they expected. This record was essentially dead before it was released. Resist the urge to make “stillbirth” allusions, please.

Honorable Mention: “Grindin'” by The Clipse. Never before has summer’s care-free abandon sounded so gritty.

The Video:

NEXT: 2003


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