Brandy’s ‘Human’ Gets a B for ‘Back’

HumanBrandy.jpgLast week Brandy released her long-awaited fifth studio album Human. Reviews have been generally favorable (on the positive side of "average" with a few digs here and there) and, to be expected, many cite her personal drama in their critical write-ups. These matters are fair game, since they helped shape the atmosphere and focus of the album--one that is contrite, bittersweet and hopeful. For anyone that was looking for more "Turn It Up" and "I Thought", put it out of your mind. It will probably take another album or two before Brandy makes you shake your ass again.

Boston Globe:

Brandy has been missed while she has faced some serious challenges - including being involved in a 2006 car accident that killed another driver - since her underrated 2004 release, "Afrodisiac." But the former "Moesha" star has never made a bad album, and she's not starting now with the appropriately rich and varied "Human."... "Human" is better than good enough. It's a light, breezy listen that shows off Brandy's resilience, humility, joy, and vibrancy.


Human is easily the most platitudinal Brandy album, but it is no less compelling for it, even when blocking out the complicated context of the singer's personal life. Renewing her alliance with Rodney Jerkins, whose production and co-songwriting work dominate the album's first half, Brandy is clearly in a comfort zone that enables her to open up more than ever.  

Entertainment Weekly:

Unsurprisingly (if you've read a tabloid over the past five years), contrition is Human's major theme. She's sorry. She's learned from her mistakes. She's more mature...except where her voice is concerned. The huskiness that defined Brandy's prior work has been replaced by wispier and higher tones. The result is pleasant but far less ambitious than her last CD, 2004's Afrodisiac.

Pop & Hiss:

On "Human" you can hear Brandy striving (understandably) to express herself, yet the result rarely rises above diary-entry tedium. "The whole world is freezing / Need to warm it up with love," she pleads at one point. The few highlights come when Jerkins, who helmed most of the album, including the catchy lead single, "Right Here [Departed]," manages to dial down Brandy's introspection and increase the groove factor.


Human, Brandy's fifth studio album, is full of mid-tempos that really display Brandy's ability vocally. I think that most of the material was crafted for Brandy to flex her vocal muscles, and finds her at her most open and free. Coming from Afrodisiac, I was expecting some more up-tempo tracks, and admittedly, at first, Human dragged a bit for me, but the pace of the album has surely caught up with me after playing it a few more times. What really rings is the fact that Brandy recorded material that was really true for her. This album is a testament to all that she's been through over the past few years, and I respect that about her.

Take the poll if you've heard the album and leave your thoughts in the comments.



10 Responses

  1. i don't think Brandy could disappoint me if she tried. her vocals have the ability to make "just okay" material great. i'm happy she's in a better space now, and i'm awfully glad she's back with a solid effort.

  2. It's a really great pop album. I enjoy it alot abut i also loved Afrodisiac

  3. Well I guess I don't know ish about music because I didn't like it one bit. Not one redeeming song on the whole thing. She had me all excited after the Johnny Boy collabo only to leave me high and dry. Girl, bye.

  4. While I can't argue with the fact that Brandy is vocally great on the album, I do think that the songs themselves are a major let down.
    Would have been nice to weed out some of the lesser ballads/mid-tempo's and put some up-tempo tracks in there ... I understand she has been through the mill over the last few years but i'm VERY disappointed!

  5. This album did not do it for me either. I like the lead single and I enjoyed all the tracks that are floating around the internet ( ie Follow me. drum life) but this album is lackluster.

  6. Great album. I like several songs on this album. Worth the wait. Human, Camouflag,and Piano Man are my favoruites.

  7. I seriously don't understand what exactly those who did not like the album, were expecting? We are always talking about "real music" or "meaningful music." We are always talking about "real singers" or "real talent" then when someone comes along and gives you something as genuine as possible, we ask why didn't we get more up-tempo tracks?
    While I can respect the desire for variety on an album, I must say I am a little disappointed in those that can't accept a project that is obviously as sincere as they come.
    Human is the first album that shows all of Brandy's growth, intellectually, common sensically and vocally. The songs -- all of them are good, they are classy and non-threatening. We should all be grateful that she didn't subcomb to the types of industry pressure that Mariah Carey has bent too as of late.

  8. @ Wendell: Most of the reviews excerpted here are positive. There is positive feedback in the comments. The poll on this entry is overwhelmingly positive. With that mind, is it really necessary to be concerned with those that aren't feeling the album? How does the fact that someone else doesn't like the album impact your personal enjoyment of it? Isn't it more productive to express why you love it than to question those who don't and toss another artist under the bus in the process? Just asking.

  9. I don't know why people are kicking Brandy while she is down. I like the album. I will admit it's a grower and won't top Afrodisiac, but it's better than the most overexposed artist (Hint..) that's out there right now.

  10. Havent heard it yet, but I'm rooting for her regardless. I feel like I grew up with B...she was there thru the jr. high crushes and the broken hearts in high school, and Afrodisiac definitely kept me jammin' post college.
    That photo shop/airbrush job on the album cover makes my left eye twitch though lol And I sure wish people would stop bringing up Brandy's car accident and her baby daddy. That ish is old.