Brandy, "Two Eleven" (RCA/Chameleon Records)
Not many singers have released six consistently amazing albums. Brandy has.
Her newest, "Two Eleven," is a collection of R&B songs that are personal, flavored and fantastic. The album doesn't miss a beat, as Brandy's raspy-yet-earthy tone weaves into each song's beat nicely to create outstanding tracks that will have you listening again and again.
First single and R&B hit "Put It Down," co-starring Chris Brown, is full of swag and one of the year's best thanks to its addictive beat, courtesy of producers Bangladesh and Sean Garrett. And when she slows it down, Brandy is just as good: "Do You Know What You Have" is smooth and top-notch, as is the Rico Love-penned "Hardly Breathing." The latter is an emotional tune, as Brandy sings about heartache and heartbreak with lyrics like: "One more teary eye, or sleepless night, just might kill this heart of mine."
Most of "Two Eleven," which features songwriting by Frank Ocean, Mario Winans and Breyon Prescott, finds the 33-year-old singing about a relationship -- she's happy at times and questioning her man at others. The jams "So Sick" and "Wish Your Love Away" are self-explanatory, but then there's "Slower," a love tune co-written by Brown, and the upbeat "Let Me Go," which samples a Lykke Li song and is about her lover keeping her around.
"Two Eleven" stands for Feb. 11, Brandy's birthday and the day her mentor, Whitney Houston, died. The icon would be proud.
Check this out: While Brandy doesn't have R&B's strongest voice, "Hardly Breathing" makes her a contender to be one of the genre's best.