I can’t lie, her recent collaboration with Chris Brown had me worried. Not to say ‘Put It Down’ is all bad, it isn’t – it just isn’t strong enough for Brandy and where she is right now. Combine this with a lack of promotion, the failure to release a video quick enough and the ever growing competitive market Brandy is facing – and well, sh*t could get real.
That said, Miss Norwood has now revealed that August 28th will be the day her much anticipated TwoEleven album will be released. Contrary to her earlier announcement of a June release. However, to ease the concerns of those like minded to me – lets not forget that she also confirmed that she is working with Frank Ocean, Timbaland and Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins on the new LP.
Frank Ocean has the capability of writing perfectly suited music for Brandy. He understands contemporary R&B better than most artists around at the moment (see: Beyonce’s ‘Miss You’ or his recent ‘Pyramids’) – I just hope Brandy (moreover, her label/team) choose the best song(s) he can offer. Timbaland has produced a number of brilliant tracks on her previous albums – they have an exciting chemistry. However, it’s Darkchild’s involvement that could potentially be most promising – providing they both go back to what works best for them and ignore current trends. Critically Brandy needs to avoid watered down, produced-just-for-radio songs (see: Brandy & Monica – ‘It All Belongs To Me‘)
As much of a commercial success this album needs to be, at this stage in her career – Brandy also crucially needs the critics on her side. For the first time in a long time Brandy is in a position to re-ignite her career and excite both old and new fans – but it rides on her ability to see and harness the current trends in R&B. For better or worse Usher’s ‘Climax’ did that for him (we’ll ignore the fact (or maybe we shouldn’t?) that he cocked it up with the Euro-Pop trash that followed) - with the right direction and the right songs, Brandy could do the same.
Lets hope this turns out right.