BRANDY: Human (Label: Epic)


Brandy Norwood’s been there or thereabouts for some time now and though a huge star in the US (thanks in part to TV coverage), over here she’s done little to distinguish herself from the ever-growing roster of R&B princesses and wannabees. The opening monologue on this new album, though, hinted that this time things were going to be different – here’s the album on which the sweet-voiced and pretty starlet really was finally going to do it. She talks about why we should all strive to be ourselves – do what we know we can do best, because after all, ‘if you’re not yourself, then who are you?’ Fine words indeed , but then, sadly. she blows them out of the water by allowing her producers and “people” to use her talents on album that is no different to 101 other female R&B offerings that have come our way this year. Like those albums, ‘Human’ is producer-driven and crafted to suit the perceived demands of the market. So the album is a slick, commercial and perfectly-balanced set of rump-shakers and overblown ballads – all telling tales of weekend good times and/or teen angst. The best beaters come from the Darkchild stable, but cuts like ‘The Definition’ and ‘Warm It Up With Love’ say more about Rodders than Ms. Norwood. Ballad-wise, ‘Long Distance’ is as maudlin as you can get, while if you like big finishers try ‘Fall’. The most ambitious cuts are the jittery ‘Piano Man’ and an oddly accompanied ‘A Capella’. That one suggests that a one sided relationship is like a song without the accompaniment… a decent conceit, but not quite fully delivered. It had the potential to be a big tune, but didn’t quite make it and that’s what the album lacks – one big blockbuster. Ballad or beater, it wouldn’t matter … but it might make you remember something positive about the set.
(BB) 2/5