Brandy grows up, but falls short of expectations

After being on a two-year hiatus, R&B singer Brandy has returned with her fourth album, “Afrodisiac,” showing that she still has what it takes to keep us listening.

This particular album, however, does not surpass her previous efforts, at least not vocally. For instance, there is not one song on her album that showcases her vocal range. Yet, the singer does score points for growing up. It’s about time!

This album is far more personal than Brandy’s previous albums and demonstrates her maturity. With lines like “Just for the sake of my daughter/I tried to stick to the plan,” Brandy speaks candidly about her decision to remain in a loveless relationship for the sake of her child in the song, “Who I Am.” What differentiates this song from others that deal with failed relationships is that the song is not bitter. Brandy remains optimistic with these catchy lyrics, “Thank you for all the tears/all the stress/I feel blessed/I’m a better woman now.” Brandy shows us that she is taking her heartbreak in stride and moving on with her life.

The album has been out since June and Brandy has already released two hit singles from it, “Talk About Our love,” featuring rap sensation Kanye West and “Who Is She 2 U,” which is her current single in heavy rotation on MTV and BET. The appeal of both the songs lies in their hip hop beats, more so than their lyrics, which are mediocre. “Who Is She 2 U,” has somewhat of an old-school feel to it, which is perfect for an up-tempo song of this sort.

One of the best songs on the album is “Where you wanna be.” The tune of the song is infectious, due in part to the piano and violin that play in the background over the mid-tempo R&B beats. The rap artist T.I. also appears on this track, giving the song a bit of an edge.

While this album is a decent effort, there are some songs on it that are definitely worth skipping. “Sadiddy” is one of them. The song, which was produced by Timbaland, is supposed to serve as the “club banger” or “party track,” because of its fast-paced beat. Yes, it has a beat, but the lyrics are ridiculously annoying.

In the beginning of the chorus, Brandy says, “If you say it, I will do it, no I ain’t saddidy/ If you cross me, I guarantee you, it won’t be pretty.” Although the lyrics rhyme, that is about all they accomplish.

If one of the songs on the album, “Should I Go,” sounds familiar, it’s because the song contains samples from Coldplay’s “Clocks.” Brandy spices this song up a bit with the help of Timbaland, who produces a more up-beat version of the song with his use of drum beats. Lyrically, this song is very personal and sentimental because Brandy worries if there is still a place for her in the music business among the new R&B female singers who have burst onto the scene.

Brandy’s “Afrodisiac” is a mediocre but personal album that should be enjoyable for teens and young adults who like R&B music. However, it fails to live up to Brandy’s previous efforts.