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Brandy - Human
Human, the fifth album from faded star Brandy, is her attempt to claw her way back into the music limelight after two years of much-publicised personal drama. But after listening to it, you might well wonder why she bothered.
The hideous all-American spoken intro about 'having the freedom to be you' is bad enough, though it perhaps has the desired effect - by the end of it you're begging for the music to begin. That sentiment, however, barely lasts a verse. Swinging between limp ballads and listless attempts at r'n'b/funk, Brandy's comeback quickly falls flat.
A handful of the 15 tracks will probably garner some radio airplay - among them, upbeat offering '1st & Love', the emotionally heavy 'Human', power ballad 'Fall' and an almost instrument-free track, 'A Capella (Something's Missing)', with its lone electric guitar augmenting myriad voices.
On the whole though, something's lacking: melodies. The lyrics are consistently good - though lines that reference the singer's involvement in a fatal road accident ("scared you might crash" and "it hit me like a moving truck") seem a little inappropriate. Above all, the tunes beneath the words don't even begin to match up.
You have to wonder why full control of production wasn't given to Timbaland, with whom Brandy has created the majority of her best material. Certainly the return of Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins to helm has broadly lacklustre results. "There's only so many songs I can sing", Brandy laments on 'Long Distance'. She's certainly run out of hits on Human.