Tamar Braxton, the younger sister of Grammy award winning singer Toni Braxton and of WeTv’s “Braxton Family Values” fame has a talent and ferocious, over-the-top personality that separates her from the rest – even Toni.
For years performing as a background singer or in her words, a ‘doo wop pop pop chick’ for Toni or on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”, she yearned and fought to keep her voice from fading from the music world.
The vocal powerhouse of the Braxton sisters who made people take notice in several episodes of the show and her single “Love & War” that debuted at number one on iTunes proved that the youngest Braxton could propel herself from her sister’s shadow into her own shining light.
Thirteen years after her first studio album “Tamar” that debuted at No. 127 on the Billboard charts, the 36-year-old singer has returned with her album “Love & War” that currently is the No. 2 album in the country on the Billboard 200, behind artist Ariana Grande, is what comebacks is all about.
According to Billboard.com, Braxton has set the female record for the longest time between an initial chart listing and a first number in the Billboard’s chart SoundScan era from December 1992 to now. On the Adult R&B airplay charts, “Love & War” single spent nine weeks at number while the second single “The One” is currently No. 3 after spending two weeks at No. 2.
Staying motivated and positive in personal setbacks, during an intimate session with fans at blogger Necole Bitchie’s “Girl Talk,” Braxton was open about her struggles in the music industry.
“I don’t let people talk me out of my goals,” Braxton said to a fan. “Do you know I had five record deals? I’ve been dropped from every single label except for the one that I’m on now! I’ve heard ‘no’ more than I’ve heard ‘yes.’”
The “Love & War” album is a testament to her journey as a woman and artist but also a chapter of her marriage to music manager/producer Vincent Herbert, who served as a producer on the album and discovered artists like Lady Gaga and Mindless Behavior.
The single of the same title is authentic R&B and fills a gap in what’s missing: raw emotion, vocals and meaningful lyrics, telling of the triumphs and hurt of marriage. “Somebody said every day, was gon’ be sunny skies/ Only Marvin Gaye and lingerie, I guess somebody lied/ we started discussing it to fightin’ then ‘Don’t touch me, please.’/then it’s ‘Let’s stop the madness, just come lay with me.’”
“Hot Sugar” is the highlight of the album and is in high demand from fans to become the next single. Its candy coated fun with sassy sex appeal instantly gets you to wind and bounce to Braxton’s “pop it, pop it, pop it” and my personal favorite that’s continuously on repeat. It’s definitely another no. 1 single in the making. “The One,” the second No. 1 single was the fun; girl loves boy summer song that gave a new spin to Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” and The Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy.”
Besides the Tamar-esque tracks that displays her over-the-top persona like “Tip Toe,” “One on One Fun,” and “She Did That” – which was too short to fully savor – seem to be beneath her ability and is more suited for artists like Keri Hilson or Ciara. A disappointment was the exclusion of the incomplete track “Get Yo Life” – based off of Braxton’s hilarious catchphrase she uses to check someone who is out of line – that could’ve easily replaced the two tracks and could’ve brought more of a upbeat, Hip-Hop influence to the album.
The core of this album that showcases her vocal ability lies in some of the best ballads of the album like “Pieces,” “All The Way Home,” “White Candle” and my personal favorites “Sound of Love” and the bonus track “Black Tears.”
Overall, “Love & War” is eclectic in every since of the word and is needed right now in music. It’s not every day that you see an artist that has been absent for over a decade, boldly coming back to claim what’s rightfully theirs. It’s definitely her time to show the world what “she” is made of and give them what they’ve been missing.