Toni Braxton is in a season of new, fresh and exciting things. A new record deal with Def Jam, the premiere of season six of Braxton Family Values and a new engagement to music mogul Birdman (I’m still trying to figure that one out). With all of this blissful happiness, you would think that it would transfer over into her music. NOT! Her latest album, her first solo album in eight years, is the complete opposite of the joy that she has been experiencing.
Sex & Cigarettes released March 23, 2018, is like reading a personal diary of a woman who has been painfully scorned by someone who she thought to be her true love. The album deals with relationship issues such as betrayal, anger, emptiness, heartbreak and of course love. Surprisingly with everything that is going on in her sister Tamar’s life, you would think that this would’ve been her album (No shade). Through all eight tracks on the album, we hear Toni trying to assess what has went wrong in her love life while attempting to pick up the pieces.
Other than the singles Deadwood and Long As I Live (I absolutely love this song now. Refer back to my review.) the title track would have to be one of my favorite songs on the album. She perfectly illustrates her emotions towards a man who is disrespecting her in plain sight.
“Remember when I used to catch you lying? You would double back and cover up your dirt. But Lately, you don’t even try to hide it. It’s the lies and disrespect that hurts me worse.”
I am a sucker for breakup songs because I think it takes a special skill to be able to express your pain. You ever notice how hard it is to explain yourself when someone asks you “what’s wrong”? To put anger and sadness into song form is a wonderful thing. Toni executed that well on this song and a few others on the album.
FOH is a track on the album that will probably become a fan favorite. Side note. I swear on the last season of BFV, somebody had to explain to Toni what FOH actually stood for (It means Fuck Outta Here for those who don’t know). I remember her being so surprised when she found out what it meant. BFV fans help me out here! Anyway, in this song, Toni is dealing with this same man and his cheating ways. The pain has been really overtaking her as she sings about being at the edge of crazy. However, she comes back to her senses and remembers just how strong, powerful and successful she is.
“Tell me who you think you are. I’m a motherfucking star.”
This is the song that gave Toni Braxton her first Parental Advisory sticker! Yay Toni! She drops the F bomb more than a few times throughout the song.
As I said earlier, the album is only eight tracks long and six of them are slow songs. All eight tracks are basically “sad” songs. Even though there are glimpses of Toni becoming “less sad”, we never see her in any other space on this album. I mean even Mary J Blige would give you some dance music in the mix of her grief. The last track Missin’, an EDM fused record attempts to bring your spirits back up after you have been in agony for seven songs straight. I would have liked to have heard at least two more fast songs on this project that gave us a lighter feel. Even Chris Brown said to “switch up the TEMPO” (You see what I did there).
Is this the best Toni Braxton album ever? Of course not. Are there some solid songs on this album? Of course. It’s a “mood” album. You have to be in a certain type of vibe to really take it all in.
Let me know what you guys think about the album. PLEASE comment your thoughts down below!
David SouloMind Ellis is an entertainment writer residing in Detroit, Michigan.