Dear Toni ~

Ms. Braxton, you have a lovely voice.  It’s unique, it’s supple, it’s like receiving a cat bath from a lion.  (Yes, that’s a good thing.)  Could you please make better albums?  Please?  You aren’t 20 any more.  You’ve got life experience now, you’ve got depth, you’ve earned your gravitas.  I’m sure that some producer somewhere, could give you arrangements and songs that don’t rely on a bevy of early nineties Michael  Bolton-esque back up singers.

“Hands Tied”, for example.  I’m listening to it right now.  Why is the whining synthesizer in the background, competing with your lovely alto?  And the random woo?  I love you, but you’ve got to keep that woo under control.  The piano in the background is perfect, but then that damn synthesizer again.  The back up singers aren’t too bad on this one, and it’s one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Then there is “Woman.”  The lyrics are ok.  But the arrangement is so…  easy.  It’s the kind of arrangement (and, I hate to say it, the song itself) that you’d expect on a Celine Dion album.  That’s not a good thing!  Celine does her own thing and I’ll leave that alone, but I don’t want easy from you.  I want grown up, down in the dirt, real.

“Yesterday.”  Eh.  Nice harmonizing on the chorus, but the “so yesterday” line sounds like Hannah Montana from a few years back.  You can do better.

“Make My Hart” starts out well.  I can’t compare it to anything else that readily comes to mind, and that’s what I want from you.  On the other hand, you’re too good to be fighting with the synthesized girls for the next Euro club hit.

“If I Have to Wait” has four stars on my iPod.  What the country guitar is doing in the back ground, I’m not really sure.  Still, one of the best tracks on the album.  However, it still has the pop standard beat going in the background, interchangeable and equally likely to be heard behind Carrie Underwood.

“Looking at Me”  See the comment on you being too good to fight for the next Euro club hit.

“Wardrobe” makes me want to pull my hair out.  It could be so much… more.

The problem is that you are so damn good.  And I want better songs, better production, an album that reflects the quality and strength of your voice and recognizes that the rest of the girls can’t possibly keep up so you are completely justified in ignoring them and setting a standard that they can only aspire to.

Please?  No more drivel like “Hero”?  I want to learn something new, see a new perspective, feel in a new way when I buy a Toni Braxton album.  Your voice is always a pleasure to listen to.  I bought the album and I’ll listen to it, but I’m begging you for something timeless, something to love, something that reflects that you are too good to go fad-chasing the next time around.

Thank you.

a fan.

Dear Toni ~

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