Brandy - Afrodisiac

With so many strings to her bow - movie star (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer), mother (her daughter Sy'rall was featured in a 2002 reality show on MTV) and displaying a natural gift for comedy in her own sitcom (shown on cable channel Trouble) - its easy to forget that this sassy, Grammy Award winning 25 year old is a slinky, sultry soul diva. Produced by in demand talent that is Kanye West, "Afrodisiac" showcases a confessional, honest Brandy about her turbulent time (particularly her divorce from her husband Robert Smith).

"Afrodisiac" is album number four for Miss Brandy Monwood. The title track has Timbaland on production duties and he's as slick as ever at getting the best from his chosen subject. This track has the feel of a superior Destiny's Child r'n'b single. Brandy raps a little bit, but it's her unmistakable voice that impresses the most. Her husky dulcet tones are diluted a little by those gimmicky vocoder effects which today in the 21st Century sound a little dated. It does though have a fresh and funky vibe about it. "I Tried" is on a disco trip with great guitar and some sophisticated string arrangements led by a great backing track. The harmonies are so luscious on this floorfiller with Paris Bowens effortlessly reproducing that hammond organ sound.

"Turn It Up" has some seriously funky James Brown influenced riffs and is so immediate that it's hard not to be enamoured. This is the kind of track Janet Jackson would love to be involved with, close your eyes and it could easily be Beyonce. It sounds raw, but at the same time innocently sweet. Following in the footsteps of Nirvana and Beverley Knight, Brandy also has a song called "Come As Your Are". The beats are full of eastern promise and the Indian influences work well in the overall production. Yet again this could quite easily be Beyonce which I suppose is no bad thing.

What I've learnt from Brandy's "Afrodisiac" album is that our heroine is one independent woman who isn't afraid to say what's on her mind. Surprisingly enough Brandy is a massive Coldplay fan with two of her songs containing elements of "Clocks" and "Sparks". A collaboration with Chris Martin can only be a phone call away.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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