Toni Braxton – Spell My Name (Album Review)

A multi-talented lady who barely needs an introduction, Toni Braxton is back with her latest studio album, Spell My Name

One of five sisters, Toni Braxton has been in the game for over three decades now. Working at her craft, she quickly grabbed the attention of “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. A partnership that has stood the test of time, Braxton soon found major success in 1993 with the hit single “Another Sad Love Song.” Earning her a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards, since then, it has been a ride of one chart-topping album and single after another. All this in mind, you have to ask yourself, what really has made Braxton stand out through the years? Well, it really is various factors, but simplifying it, it is her dominant voice that casts a whole lot of soul in each song. In fact, she shows so much emotion that you can feel your heart breaking each time she sings… it is really that good!

Which leads us to present day where the award-winning Braxton returns with Spell My Name, her 10th overall studio album released on Friday, August 28th, 2020 via Island Records. Featuring ten songs in total, amidst it all is a strong production team along with plenty of classic R&B that will make fans’ mouths water.

An album that focuses around love and heartache, it all begins on a high note with the catchy, upbeat number simply entitled “Dance.” Following directly thereafter is a Hip Hop spiked remixed edition of “Do It” featuring hype/backing vocals from the legendary Missy Elliot. A strong start to the record as a whole, “Do It” has a beautiful, enticing arrangement that rightfully made it the album’s lead single. For those seeking the original single cut released back in April, not to worry, because it pops up around the tail-end of the album. 

From here you are then led into the thoughtful, sad vibe that flows gently with “Gotta Move On.” Featuring a guest spot from H.E.R., it a moment where you can truly hear Braxton’s pain emoted in her and the story she tells. Keeping these real emotions pouring out, next is the smooth sensation of “Fallin’,” the seductive title-track, the dreamy “O.V.E.Rr.,” more stripped down “Happy Without Me,” before the powerful “Saturday Night.” All very strong offerings, ending it all is the aforementioned original edition of “Do It” before the bluesy bonus track “Nothin’.” 

Overall, this is Toni Braxton at her finest. An album that possess a sound that is a throwback to classic ’90s R&B, it still keeps a modern vibe. On top of it all, Braxton pulls at your heart strings with undeniable feeling. Her calm, subtle approach guides you through memorable arrangements, catchy melodies, as well as beautiful lyrics, and like always, she successfully makes a positive impression. An album that might feel like it goes by in the blink of an eye, it sure is stunning, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives Spell My Name 5 out of 5 stars. 

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