Toni Braxton and Babyface ‘Love, Marriage & Divorce’ Album Review
Once upon a time, Toni Braxton announced her retirement from music. Then Babyface brought her back to her senses. And thanks to his efforts, we have the Love, Marriage & Divorce.
Thank you Babyface.
Led by the singles “Hurt You” and “Where Did We Go Wrong“, the album seemed to be shaping up like a 90’s nostalgia album. We all miss the magic they made then, and this seemed to be a retread of that same territory.
However, the two music veterans prove that they are so much more than they were then. As hard as you may try, you’ll be hard pressed to find a misstep. The album is straight fire from the ballads to mid-tempo jams; there’s even a dance track thrown in.
All of that said, the album feels much more like a Toni Braxton album than a joint venture. She has two solo songs to his one. She takes the lead most often where he takes backgrounds. Her vocals even seem to be set to a higher volume than his.
And that’s not a complaint. It’s an asset.
The album opens with “Rollercoaster”, a song describing how love is up and down. It is very reminiscent of much of Toni’s earlier work in its sound, but it feels fresh and current. The duo trades duties seamlessly, and the track has plenty of space for Toni’s voice to soar.
The immediate follow-up, “Sweat”, capsulizes “make-up sex” in an adult and tasteful way. Only these two could make a song about this subject a feel good song. “Take It Back” on the other hand, has the two pleading a case for getting a relationship back to the way it once was. What makes each of these songs winners is that they both feel authentic. They clearly come from an honest place of experience.
On Toni’s solo excursions, she reminds us all of why she is a legend in the industry. “I Wish” is a clear standout on the album as she tackles the subject of wishing ill will on an ex. Backed by a piano, she wishes her former lover gets a broken heart, contracts a disease, and has all of his money spent by his new woman. This is right in the vein of one of her all-time best tracks, “How Could An Angel Break My Heart,” which was coincidentally written by Babyface.
On “I’d Rather Be Broke”, Ms. Braxton’s trademark sass is on display. She’s over her relationship, and she’d rather be broke than stay together. The production on this is stellar, and it seems more than ready for radio spins. My guess is that the only reason it hasn’t been chosen as a single is because Babyface is nowhere to be found.
If nothing else, this album proves that both Toni Braxton and Babyface have still got it. Their voices have never been clearer or stronger, and though they have been at it for a long time, their music can still be relevant.
Having her longtime backer there as a support system has helped reinvigorate the Toni Braxton that we once knew. In recent times, she has become less of an artist and more of a singer trying to chase trends. This album sets her back on the right path. I’m not sure what the future holds, but it is looking bright for Toni and Babyface.
Go out and buy the album, out today!
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