Having sold 50 million records during her career, American R&B singer, Brandy, is set to release her sixth studio album, Two Eleven, in October. Following on from the unjustified poor performance of her last album, Human, Brandy has been rethinking her creative direction. Feeling that Human was too pop-oriented, she had expressed the desire to return to her R&B roots for her latest material. Ahead of new single, ‘Wildest Dreams’, Brandy reunited with fellow R&B songstress, Monica, for the duet, ‘It All Belongs to Me’, which came out in February this year – a precursor to Two Eleven. Subsequent to this was her collaboration with controversial artist, Chris Brown, for the more upbeat and slightly quirky track, ‘Put It Down’.
Of her three singles released this year, the Sean Garrett-penned and The Bizness-produced, ‘Wildest Dreams’, is by far her most successful effort. The track is evocative of her more commercially lucrative output from the Never Say Never and Full Moon era. Opening with the infectious loop of her stuttering ‘Ne-ver-er’ in an almost robotic drawl, ‘Wildest Dreams’ is instantly catchy. It’s also noticeably classic R&B rather than the dance-infused and rather diluted dross of other artists, who started off in the R&B sphere but have since wandered into a completely different genre – this in itself is a very pleasing fact.
The song lyrics deal with an unexpected relationship that has befallen Brandy – imitating her personal life – as she sings rather beautifully, ‘It’s hard to hold back tears / Whenever you hold me close / I think about the years I spent saying this is all I want / Just wanted someone real to love me for me’. Once again, Brandy shows off her effortless ability to sing around the core melody without it feeling cluttered or over-sung. She creates a melodically diverse and harmony-rich ensemble with just one exceptional instrument: her own voice.
Being a highly competent vocalist, Brandy drops these fluttering ad libs throughout the track. However, what ‘Wildest Dreams’ is really missing is a proper culmination to the song – a key change would have worked wonders after the middle 8. As such, it kind of leaves the track feeling like a solid album track, as opposed to something that would be serious competition for the higher chart positions.
That said, ‘Wildest Dreams’ is the first of her latest batch of singles to really spark a sense of excitement for the impending release of Two Eleven. The album has found Brandy collaborating with a host of producers and composers, as opposed to her one-producer formula of the past. Talent drafted in for work on the album includes Frank Ocean, Timbaland and Rico Love, indicating there’s a lot to be excited about with Brandy’s forthcoming opus.
Two Eleven is released in the UK on 15 October 2012 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.