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Braxton,Toni ~ Heat
After a nearly four-year absence from recording, Toni Braxton returns with
The Heat, her third album. Full of drama--sometimes melodrama--it unsurprisingly puts Braxton's rich voice and command of nuance front and centre of one state-of-the-art track after another. Unfortunately,
The Heat plays up her taste for ballads to such a point that the disc bores itself into a quiet-storm rut. The big exception is the Rodney-Jerkins-produced first single "He Wasn't Man Enough". The song's smouldering rebuff and Jerkins's measured funk make a perfect match for Braxton's matter-of-fact hauteur. She also delivers a tough take on reality with "Just Be a Man About It", which pits her against Dr. Dre in a breakup scenario that carries much more force than weightless trifles such as the filler sex-me-up "The Art of Love" and Diane Warren's "Spanish Guitar".