Sunday, January 9, 2011

CD Review: Toni Braxton - Pulse

Braxton’s fight to stay relevant
Artiste: Toni Braxton
Album: Pulse
Genre: R&B
Reviewer: John K. Abimanyi

You’ve got to feel for Toni Braxton. Five years after the release of her last album, Libra, and nearly a decade since she was at her peak with songs like Spanish Guitar and He wasn’t Man Enough, Braxton now returns to an industry whose rules have changed so drastically; now run by a whole new set of much younger, much hipper R&B acts like Rihanna and Co.  

And that is why it is hard to pigeon-hole Pulse, her latest album. There was a time when it would have rested home and easy in the R&B shelf; but that was in 2005 and before. R&B has now gone full throttle with its Autotune, Frutty Loops and more electro fusions such that the good old R&B, which Toni strives to do on this CD some how sounds like a great CD from the early 2000s that you somehow missed listening to and not a new record.

Toni’s voice has not retarded one bit. That strong and sturdy voice, the one that almost sounds masculine and yet still retains a lot of her womanly sweetness, is still present.

Yesterday, which has enjoyed reasonable airplay on radio is by no doubt the star track. It’s You offers that characteristic-Braxton-vocal ride that her old fans will be looking out for while Don’t Call Just Text has a great and contained groovy-ness about it. The faster songs like Make My Heart and Wardrobe are the example of an old woman trying to sound young, and that does not do her any favours.

Her old fans will welcome Braxton back with wide open arms on this CD, but she will not be getting many new fans on board with this one.

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