Its been 4 years since Toni`s perceived last collaboration with Babyface on Love, Marriage & Divorce,a criminally underrated album, after which she took the long and well deserved hiatus.
On March 23rd, that all changed with the release of Sex & Cigarettes.
Somebody made Toni Braxton stark raving mad by the sounds of her 9th studio album, Sex & Cigarettes, and she gives zero chills. Thank God for it though because her suffered heartbreak produced nothing short of brilliance.
We are in an era of music where the disease of more is very real and artists routinely drop albums that run longer than Lord Of The Rings marathon.(Cue in Chris Brown). To those who would dare scoff at the album’s run time, a modest 30 minutes, clearly don’t understand the replay value of this gem. The 8 track snack-sized album is a short, but anything from sweet, album. There are barely any fillers in the album. Just perfect. She knows what she wants and doesn’t waste time beating around the bush to get to it.
Toni’s trademark low register works well over the strings of Deadwood, the leading gentle track that can’t mask her simmering frustration over her relationship after being jilted.
The 50 year old crooner never lost her signature sultry vocals yet there is an edgy huskiness that has an almost floating essence. Her heartbreak is tinged with melancholy in the track Sex & Cigarettes as she vents; still you come straight to our bed smelling like sex and cigarettes
Long As I Live is one of those songs that just gets you grooving, even as she describes the pain of seeing an ex with another lover. It drips of that vintage R&B sound that is so breezy and electric at the same time. The song is an absolute fave.
Who knew the proper Toni Braxton could cuss? (She’s been hanging with rappers). This was a welcome distraction in FOH where she sings to her lover …don’t come around / And cloud up my atmosphere / F**k outta here. This is one of the moments when her give no f* attitude comes through.
Thank you Toni for not including that trap single with bae Birdman. Legendary status is still intact.
It’s no secret that some of the world’s greatest music was birthed through heartache. When a woman’s fed up we all win.
Notable favorites; Deadwood, Sex & Cigarettes, Long As I Live, FOH
Overall Rating; 8/10