Toni Braxton is back, honey! To say that the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter has had through ups and downs since her debut would be a major understatement. The “Un-Break My Heart” singer burst into the music scene in the early 90’s and topped the charts and broke records with her signature vocals and undeniable stage presence.
But her rise to the top came to a standstill when a very public feud with her record label led her to filing for bankruptcy. and she was diagnosed with lupus. However, Toni was not built to break. She quickly bounced back with several new albums and a hit reality TV show featuring her and her family (WE TV’s Braxton Family Values).
Fast forward to 2020, and the living legend diva extraordinaire is releasing her 10th studio album (her first with her new record label, Island Records). Spell My Name showcases what Toni does best: going through heartbreak and coming over stronger than ever. The album’s 10 tracks not only showcases Braxton’s signature vocals but also some of her strongest songwriting to date.
The album’s lead track, “Dance,” is a solid up-tempo number from the superstar. Toni invites us back to the club dance floor we’ve all been missing during the pandemic with this groovy disco-influenced track, which is also the album’s second single. With its groovy drum beat, light strings and piano mingling with Braxton’s passionate vocals, the song is one of the highlights of the strongest of the album.
The album’s lead single, “Do It,” is a collaboration with the iconic Missy Elliott, is the wonderfully delightful coming together we didn’t know we needed. In the song, both divas sing about giving advice to a friend that needs to leave a toxic relationship. The track is a nice change of pace from Braxton’s slower and methodical sound and is one of the highlights on the album.
Another highlight on Spell My Name is “Gotta Move On.” R&B singer H.E.R. is featured on the dreamy track which features an enveloping orchestral opening and transitions into Braxton floating her way around a beefy sub-bass and wavy synths, consistently building until a reverb-heavy guitar solo surrounds the artists. This song is an orgasm for the ears for sure.
Power ballad, “Happy Without Me,” follows Braxton’s signature smooth R&B sound that we have grown to love since the beginning of her career. The song features more strong songwriting from the singer along with one of my favorite lines on the album: “Nothing is bruised but my ego.” Yes, Toni! Come all the way through with the lyrics that are just made to be Instagram captions!
If there’s one thing we know about Toni Living Legend Braxton, it is that she always delivers and Spell My Name is another solid addition to iconic discography! It’s a smooth and nostalgic venture for soul.