With a crew of gifted producers, including the mighty Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins,...
Christian Hopwood 2002-11-20
And so we are blessed with the fourth album from Mrs Smith nee Norwood. Like her male contemporary Usher, Brandy is one of pop's foremost polymaths; actor, writer, singer and, in part, producer she has a handle on pretty much every element of the entertainment business.
With her television show 'Moesha' now out of production, Brandy has shifted the focus back to her music and after a long absence from the studio she has married, re-assessed her game and grown up a bit. With a crew of gifted producers, Keith Crouch, LaShawn Daniels, the mighty Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and her now husband Robert Smith, Full Moon serves up a large slice of R&B pie that is topped with honey, nuts and brown sugar.
Most of the tracks on this album fall largely into one of two camps. The first of these is the formulaic down tempo ballad characterised by soft pads, chimes, finger snaps and smooth, creamy harmonies. In style terms, tracks such as "When You Touch Me", "Like This", "Come A Little Closer" and "Love Wouldn't Count Me Out" do very little to differentiate themselves from one another.
However, we are left to work out which emotional tack Brandy has chosen to take... most of the time she seems to be showing her man 'the hand' either that or trying win his attention and affections. Of these "Wow" is the best ballad, a great chorus and vocal arrangement combined with Robert Smith's sun kissed groove make this a hymn to their relationship and a genuinely uplifting cut.
Slush and mush aside, it is the up tempo pieces that provide the records killer moments and not surprisingly Rodney Jerkins is at the helm every time. Stuttering electro bass lines and crunchy drums propel tracks like "I Thought" and "Can We" away from the traditional R&B sound in to a new arena. Darkchild's futuristic jam on "What About Us?" has to be the high point here, a great vocal hook and a grinding b-line put the track on a level with The Neptunes feat. Britney Spears "I'm A Slave 4 U". No doubt Full Moon will put Brandy firmly back on the map, quite how she will eclipse this next time round remains to be seen... we wait with baited breath.