Toni Braxton is one of the most highly regarded female vocalists of the past twenty years and when you hear some of her classic ballads such as Unbreak My Heart and How could an angel break my heart you can understand why she has that reputation. She has released a total of six studio albums since 1993. Now aged 42 she has just released a new album called Pulse which I have been listening to recently.
This album was released 4th May 2010 and was recorded between late 2008 and early 2010. It was released on Atlantic Records and was produced by several big name producers including work from David Foster and Steve Mac. The album features Toni Braxton's usual mix of up tempo dance R&B and Ballads. The album features three singles "Yesterday", "Hands Tied" and "Make My Heart".
This track opens the album and is also the lead single from the album, It's a Piano led ballad which structurally reminds me of Beyonce's "Broken Hearted Girl" from her latest album "I Am...Sasha Fierce". Toni's vocals are very strong and this is a very decent start to the album. This track is about looking back on a broken relationship with regrets.
2.) Make My Heart
This track is a funky up tempo track which features quick paced vocals from Toni. She shows herself to be very adept at the more up tempo material as well as the slower tone of the ballads. This track shows a nice change from the ballads and shows off a different style of her music. This is a decent track that had it's support as a single when it was released.
3.) Hands Tied
This track moves things back to a slower pace with a lovely piano opening which is soon joined by the catchy beat and Toni's vocals. This is a decent track which features some typically rnb hooks which add to the overal feel of the song. Good track which has a good melody that moves along well.
This is interstingly a cover of Delta Goodrem, I haven't heard the original but this is a very good version. Toni's vocals are authorative and the backing vocals add a nice emotive touch. This track is about how a woman needs to feel loved and wanted in a relationship and feeling that their partner is neglecting them a little.
5.) If I have to wait
Tono's voice shows a deeper tone on this one, This track just shows off the fantastic range of her voice. This ballad is about waiting for something you want when you are in love. This track has a superb flow and Toni's natural flowing vocals are the reason. Another very good track. Nice ballad. She sounds a little like Leona Lewis on this one.
6.) Lookin' At Me
Next up and This is another Beyonce like track, It reminds me of "Put a ring on it" from the beat. This is another very decent up tempo track that will get fans up at her concerts. I would like it to develop a little more but as it is it's still a very decent track which certainly has it's appeal.
This is a nice track which has a gentle piano opening which leads into the catchy beat and Toni's expressive vocals. This track is about wanting a change. I think this track could be a bit better but it's a decent enough track I just feel that Toni Braxton has a lot more talent than this song would have you believe. Not bad but could be better.
Now this is a better attempt, It's a futuristic R&B ballad in the vain of Usher/Neyo. Toni's expressive vocals are on form on this track about looking out for that someone who can save you. One of the best tracks on the album and an excellent track musically. This is one of the tracks on this album that really works.
9.) No Way
This is a lovely gentle ballad, It opens with some really nice drum beats and gentle guitar. Toni's voice is on fine laid back form on this song about proving your love in a relationship and proving to each ohther that the relationship is strong and can stay on tracl. The music is particularly good here with nice progression.
Here's the title track and this one is a really beautiful track which sounds very emotive. Toni's vocals are smooth and expressive and as the song develops you really start to get into it. This track is about saving a relationship and is one of the best tracks on the album and shows that Toni still has that voice in spades.
11.) Why won't you love me?
This is the final track on the album and is another lovely ballad. It opens with a gentle piano part and some lovely string section. This is a contender for best track on the album. It's a tearful question to someone who has left you when the relationship had gone down hill. This is a wonderful end to the album.
Whilst Whitney Houston's problems have been well reported, Toni Braxton has not had half as much exposure during her troubles with her son being diagonosed with autism and also the breakup of her marriage with Mint Condition star Keri Lewis in 2009. This album is not her best work to date but what it does show is that she is still a very very capable singer and artist and she has a lot left in the tank. I just hope Whitney stays trouble free as it would be great to have Whitney, Mariah and Toni all doing well at the same time again .
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Make My Heart
3 Hands Tied
5 If I Have To Wait
6 Lookin' At Me
9 No Way
11 Why Won't You Love Me