Friday, September 05, 2008

on brandy.

What follows is the blurb I penned about Brandy for my "Best of Brandy" playlist. It's very much a work-in-progress. If you're anything like me (meaning that you take pride in thinking critically about your favorite music), I invite you to toss in your suggestions, revisions, qualms, laurels, admonitions and accolades. If you're nothing like me, just hush and take a listen.

No female singer this century has had so profound an impact on the sound of contemporary R&B than the iconic Brandy Norwood. This playlist profiles the lushly layered harmonies and the ethereal, otherworldly vocal arrangements that she and producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins tailored to accommodate the young starlet’s airy voice, smooth alto range and moody temperment.

Inspired by the stirring ballads of Whitney Houston and the intricate vocal stylings of gospel’s Kim Burrell, Brandy’s songs allow listeners to explore the unique blend of anomie and automation that shapes the postmodern soundscape as well as the human vulnerability that lies at its root.

[note: for some reason, the blog insert is only playing 30-second snippets. to hear the songs in their entirety, click on the "brandy's best" hyperlink beneath the player]

brandys best

I'd love to have a conversation about my favorites, but it seems pointless, considering I've already cited each of the tracks as one of her best. *shrug* could someone please take an interest in my claim about the postmodernity of Brandy's sound? I'd really like an opportunity to discuss it further without wondering whether anyone gives a damn. Ha!


Blogger C. Baptiste-Williams said...

brandy is cool and all but

No female singer this century has had so profound an impact on the sound of contemporary R&B than the iconic Brandy Norwood."

is a little bit of a stretch... i mean this century??? really???

10:07 PM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...

1. we're only 8 years deep into the century
2. name me another artist whose made a more significant impact on the sound of today's R&B.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She peaked with the first album if you ask me. That was her absolute best. It's like artists give their all when they're hungry. When she was hungry, she put her all into her albums. Now, not so much.

Oh, ain't nothin' topping Always On My Mind. That's Brandy at her best.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Shawn said...

"She peaked with the first album if you ask me"

As a Brandy fan, i can definitely say that she has not YET peaked. Her voice has matured beautifully and you can hear her growth in the complexity of her vocal arrangements and just the way she uses her voice now in general.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...

peaked? first album?!?


it wasn't until her 1997 collabo with rodney jerkins that brandy really began to explore the more subtle aspects of her voice. if she's peaked at all, the moment would have to be in the full moon/afrodisiac era... but thats not even the case, 'cause i can say with some confidence that "Fall" (track two on my playlist) is some of her best yet and a sign that there's more to come.

10:49 AM  
Blogger C. Baptiste-Williams said...

Brandy has only had one album in "this century" which was Full Moon which was hardly her best work.

6:10 PM  
Blogger life said...

I've been a fan of Brandy in passing, but her vocal techniques and harmonies are unique.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous alookthrumyeyes said...

Brandy’s smoky vocals, an underpinning of regret and the blues that gives her a vulnerability and realness that's compelling. That hint of heartache is perfectly suited for love-lost mid-tempo ballads, like her 2001 "Love Wouldn’t Count Me Out," and in many ways Brandy is a modern-day torch singer. She can sing just about anything, but when Brandy lets her love light simmer, she creates a smoldering flame.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...


Actually, Brandy has done three albums this century. Full Moon in 2002, Afrodisiac in 2004 and Human in 2008.

More importantly, I never made an argument about how prolific Brandy has been, only how significant an impact she's had. Check out Destiny's Child's "Feel the Same Way I Do", Tamia's "Too Grown for That", and any ad-lib Dawn from Danity Kane does, and you'll be able to glimpse the impact b-rocka's syncopation and vocal arrangements have had on contemportary R&B.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Darius T. Williams said...

Yup - Brandy is a super star!

8:19 PM  
Blogger taylorSiluwé ..... said...

"peaked? first album?!?


You better preach.

I just can't understand all the hateration that spills when the subject of Brandy comes up. Its the ability for an artist to cut into my heart and soul that matters most to me.

Brandy does that. I'll be 95 years old, but WOW will still make me misty. I could go on and on about so many of her songs, but that one has become a bit of an anthem for me.

Brandy will always be my superstar. Haters keep hatin' -- we know ya gotta have something to do.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous celeste said...

i think i have to agree with C. brandy is good but profound impact... na.

and just because someone doesnt agree with your opinion Taylorsiluwe doesnt mean they are hating... just means they have an opinion as well.

8:49 PM  
Blogger C. Baptiste-Williams said...

i stand corrected forgot about afrodisiac... but didnt know she even had a single this year let alone an album. she didnt get much play in DC

8:52 PM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...

"Human," Brandy's fifth studio album, will be released online and in stores in the United States on November 11, 2008.

The album's leading single, entitled "Right Here (Departed)," premiered on August 13, 2008 via Brandy's official website. Its getting plenty of buzz on radios and in clubs here in the NY market, so it's not yet getting play in DC, it will soon.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Reg said...

There's one song that's missing: Put That On Everything.


1:23 AM  
Blogger Trent Jackson said...

LMAO...All of this over Brandy.
I love her!!

Full Moon, her best album material wise and is one of the best CD's made in my opinion.

Never Say Never, vocally her best...

12:24 AM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

I apologize for being late to this topic but I have been an intermittent reader of your blog for a while and am a big fan of it. I'm very glad you mad this post and i definitely agree that she is one of the most prolific artist of this century and perhaps one of the best in music overall. Her vocal arrangements are compared to none yet she blends so well into mainstream despite her soulful execution. I can honestly say that her voice is one of the few that makes me emotional; which an artist is supposed to do- through their work make a connection, make you think and feel. i just heard her new album and like usual was not disappointed. In fact my love for her has grown and I think it is finally spreading. I think she is past due a great deal of appreciation.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Mr. Jones said...

I'm a fan of Brandy's music. She's he bomb and he music is always on point, but I'm with C. Baptiste. The comment he highlighted is a bit of a reach.

11:04 AM  

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