More Than a Woman (album)

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More Than a Woman
Studio album by Toni Braxton
Released November 19, 2002 (2002-11-19) (U.S.)
Recorded 2001-2002
Baseway Studios, Denim's Den
(Los Angeles, California)
Brandon's Way Recording, Capitol Studios, The Record Plant
(Hollywood, Los Angeles, California)
Circle House Studios
The Hit Factory Criteria
(Miami, Florida)
Darkchild Studios
(Pleasantville, New Jersey)
The Enterprise Studios
(Burbank, California)
Patchwerk Studios
(Atlanta, Georgia)
Sound on Sound Studios
(Manhattan, New York City, New York)
Track Record Studios
(North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Westlake Recording Studios
(West Hollywood, California)
Genre R&B, pop, hip hop
Label Arista
Producer Antonio "L.A." Reid (exec.)
Keri Lewis (exec.)
Toni Braxton (exec.)
Babyface
The Neptunes, Darkchild
Keri Lewis
Irv Gotti
Chink Santana, Mannie Fresh
Big Bert
Andrea Martin
Ivan Mathias
Mark Pitts
No I.D.
Toni Braxton chronology
Snowflakes
(2001)
More Than a Woman
(2002)
Libra
(2005)
Singles from More Than a Woman
  1. "Hit the Freeway"
    Released: October 15, 2002

More Than a Woman is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Toni Braxton. It was released in the United States on November 19, 2002 by Arista Records. Most of the songs were written by Braxton, her husband Keri Lewis, and her sister Tamar Braxton. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in late 2002.

Album information[edit]

Genres[edit]

More Than a Woman is a diverse blend of danceable club numbers, trademark Braxton ballads and experimental tracks which borrow from the genres of rock and jazz.[1] The album was described as a "variety of sonic colors". Her then-husband Keri Lewis, former Mint Condition keyboardist, co-wrote and had a hand in producing four tracks, while her younger sister Tamar Braxton co-wrote six songs and sings backup on the entire CD."[2]

Songs[edit]

The album's first half alternates between edgy hip hop-flavored fare, the club-ready and more experimental R&B.[3] The album opens with the "feisty" "Let Me Show You The Way (Out)". It was described as "a new woman's anthem for 2003" by BBC Music.[1] Over a hammering hip-hop bassline, angry incessant piano chords and Braxton's calm but commanding vocals lies a telling tale of infidelity, which sets the theme for the majority of the album.[1] The second track "Give It Back" is another hip-hop song, which features the rapper Big Tymers and it's a " club-ready track."[3] CD Universe described it as a "moody, mid-tempo track, which boasts a bit of hip-hop flavor.[4] The third track "A Better Man" is a "futuristic R&B ballad."[3] The fourth track and the only single of the album "Hit the Freeway" features Loon and it's an edgy hip-hop flavored track.[3] It was described as "a quintessential Neptunes track - melodic synthesiser, staged handclaps and funky drum patterns - later transpires into an impressive slice of pop R&B. According to BBC Music, the chorus: "Farewell my lonely one, nothing else here can be done, I don't ever wanna see you again" is eagerly contagious.[1] The fifth track "Lies, Lies, Lies" was written by Keri Lewis and it's "a dramatic, "he-done-me-wrong" ballad with mostly live instrumentation (including rock-charged guitar) and a background vocal arrangement featuring the Braxton sisters.[2] Toni's vocals also provide a mix, as her gravelly tones are pit against an electric guitar.[1] People Magazine considered the track "an instant Toni classic, right up there with "Breathe Again," "Let It Flow" and "Un-Break My Heart."[2] The sixth track, the romantic slow jam "Rock Me, Roll Me", was described as "a splendid ode to female desire spotted with plucky violins, subtle reverb and Braxton's distinctive harmonies.[3]

The second half of the album slips back into more measured R&B.[3] The seventh track "Selfish" is a "slow ballad" about Braxton's jealousy. The eighth track "Do You Remember When" is the only song produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and it harks back to the smooth R&B of Braxton's self-titled debut.[3] The ninth track "Me & My Boyfriend" boasts some Spanish guitar amid its slinky grooves. It features a sample from Tupac Shakur's 1996 cut "Me and My Girlfriend".[2] The tenth track "Tell Me" is a sexy song about perform fantasies for your love.[5] The eleventh track "And I Love You" is "a requite ballad courtesy of longtime collaborator and mentor Babyface.[3] The twelfth and final track "Always" is a tenderly honed R&B ballad with rich, multi-layered vocals, which add balance to the edgier, street-orientated tracks.[1]

Singles[edit]

Originally, the first single was said to be a sample-heavy track (sampling the Luther Vandross-penned track Never Too Much) called "No More Love", produced by and featuring Irv Gotti.[6] However, after Gotti had leaked the song to radio, Braxton and Arista decided not to include the song on the final track listing.[7]

The official first single released from the album was "Hit the Freeway" featuring rapper Loon. It peaked at number eighty-six on Billboard Hot 100, number thirty-two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and number two on the Hot Dance Club Play.[8]

The second single was set to be "A Better Man". No video was ever made for the song, although promotional CDs were made available for radio.[9] After Braxton and her then-husband/manager Keri Lewis had a falling out with "Better Man" producers over credits & royalties, Braxton switched the second single to "Lies, Lies, Lies" (with an unreleased video shot as well) but it was not supported by the label. Braxton was dropped by her record company shortly after. A few years after the album's release, a dance remix of "Lies, Lies, Lies" was leaked online on the fansite Toni-Online.

Additionally, to service radio shows, a double A-side vinyl for "Give It Back" and "Let Me Show You the Way (Out)" was released.[10]

"Me & My Boyfriend" (a cover of Tupac Shakur's 1996 song "Me and My Girlfriend") was set to be a single at some point, but Jay-Z and Beyoncé released the single "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" around the same time, which is based on the same song, and Braxton refrained from releasing her version as a single, accusing Jay-Z of stealing her idea (although it should be pointed out that "How Much", a duet between Mariah Carey and Usher on Carey's 1999 album Rainbow, uses the same Shakur sample).[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
BBC Music (positive)[1]
Billboard (average)[12]
Blender 4/5 stars[13]
Entertainment Weekly B[14]
People (positive)[2]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[16]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[3]
Yahoo! Music UK 7/10 stars[17]

According to Metacritic, the album holds a score of 77 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews", based on 8 reviews.[13] Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave to the album 4 stars out of 5, writing that the album is "so consistent, so much a continuation of its predecessor, The Heat, that it may be hard to pinpoint distinctive characteristics."[5] He complained that "it lacks a single as undeniable as He Wasn't Man Enough, but "much of the album is in a similar sexy spirit."[5] He concluded the review, stating that " it was easily one of the most satisfying listens of its kind released that year, and another fine record by Toni Braxton."[5] Erlewine picked "Let Me Show You The Way (Out)", "Hit the Freeway" and "Tell Me" as the album's best tracks.[5] Blender wrote a positive review, saying that "While her wailing contemporaries go off the rails with exaggeration, Braxton merely tightens her groove and rides these mellow, meaty melodies."[13] Chuck Arnold wrote for People that "her sultry, husky alto shines as she bends and jazzily twists notes with that special Toni touch."[2] Arnold realized that "Although the rest of the album doesn't quite match that quality, it's still easily More than your average R&B-pop fare."[2] "Launch" was positive towards the theme of the songs, writing that "All this anger's not just therapeutic--it also makes her transition to hard hip-hop diva seem sensible, instead of just a marketing move, by grounding it in something real."[13]

Keysha Davis from BBC Music thought that "More Than A Woman will sell bucket-loads."[1] She also praised Braxton for "serve both middle-of-the-road listeners with her high-powered ballads, as well the comrades of the streets with her attitude-ridden take on modern day living."[1] While discussing the album's hip-hop songs, Chris Willman from Entertainment Weekly wrote that "she has sudden hip-hop pretensions, it's low-key hip-hop, the electronic throbs provides a surprisingly suitable bed for her controlled boudoir cooing."[14] While comparing the album between her previous release The Heat, he called it "hotter than her predominantly adult contemporary previous album" and concluded writing that the album "proves to be the singer's most consistent effort since Toni Braxton (1993)."[3]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Let Me Show You the Way (Out)"   Toni Braxton, Tamar Braxton, Keri Lewis, Curtis Mayfield, Ernest D. Wilson 4:19
2. "Give It Back" (featuring Big Tymers) Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton, Byron Thomas, Bryan Williams 3:38
3. "A Better Man"   Ivan Matias, Gerrard C. Baker, Andrea Martin 3:58
4. "Hit the Freeway" (featuring Loon) Chauncey Hawkins, Pharrell Williams 3:50
5. "Lies, Lies, Lies"   Keri Lewis, Stokley Williams 5:10
6. "Rock Me, Roll Me"   Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton, Keri Lewis 4:57
7. "Selfish"   Toni Braxton, Tamar Braxton, Blake English, Kenisha Pratt, Robert Smith, Brandy Norwood 3:47
8. "Do You Remember When"   Toni Braxton, LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III 4:02
9. "Me & My Boyfriend"   Toni Braxton, Tamar Braxton, Darryl Harper, Irving Lorenzo, Andre Parker, Ricky Rouse, Tupac Shakur, Tyrone Wrice 3:43
10. "Tell Me"   Anita Baker, Anthony Bias, Toni Braxton, Louis Johnson, Keri Lewis 4:09
11. "And I Love You"   Babyface, Daryl Simmons 3:59
12. "Always"   Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton, English, Pratt, R. Smith, Brandy Norwood 4:30
Total length:
49:40

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

  • Patricia Aiken – violin
  • Brian Benning – violin
  • Sally Berman – violin
  • Rebecca Bunnell – violin
  • Chris 'Daddy' Davedrums
  • Drew Dembowski – bass
  • Assa Drori – violin, principal
  • Thomas Dienner – viola
  • Blake English – guitar
  • Brent Fischerarranger, conductor, orchestra manager, project coordinator
  • Clare Fischer – conductor, orchestral arrangements
  • Agnes Gottschewski – violin
  • Lynn Grants – viola
  • Maurice Grants – cello
  • Henry Gronnier – violin
  • Al Hershberger – violin
  • Oscar Hidalgo – bass
  • Ricky Kinchen – bass
  • Renita Koven – viola
  • Johana Krejci – violin
  • Phillipe Levy – violin
  • Keith Lewis – cello
  • Jeremy Lubbock – strings
  • Earl Madison – cello
  • Tomi Martin – guitar
  • Dennis Molchan – violin
  • Jorge Moraga – viola
  • Ricky Rouse – guitar
  • Dan Smith – cello
  • Stokley – guitar
  • Terrence "Bearwolf" Williams – keyboards

Production[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
position
Dutch Albums Chart[18] 88
French Albums Chart[18] 90
German Albums Chart[19] 37
Japanese Albums Chart[20] 114
Swiss Albums Chart[18] 23
UK Albums Chart[21] 123
U.S. Billboard 200[5] 13
U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[5] 5

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Davis, Keyshia (12 December 2002). "BBC - Music - Review of Toni Braxton - More Than a Woman". BBC Music. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Arnold, Chuck (25 November 2002). "Picks and Pans Review: More Than a Woman". People. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cinquemani, Sal (November 11, 2002). "Toni Braxton: More Than a Woman". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  4. ^ http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=8215736&style=music&fulldesc=T
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. More Than a Woman - Toni Braxton at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  6. ^ "Toni Braxton and Irv Gotti". Pop Music. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Toni Braxton’s Got No More Love For Irv Gotti". Pop Music. 18 February 2002. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Toni Braxton Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "TONI BRAXTON A Better Man (2002 US 2-track promotional CD for the song taken from the 'More Than A Woman' album, featuring the Album and Instrumental version ARPCD-5231).". Eil.com. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Toni Braxton - Give it Back feat. Big Tymers (12") - hhv.de - shop". HHV. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "Jay-Z Camp Refutes Toni Braxton's Tupac-Biting Claims 'I know he didn't intentionally make the same record she made,' Damon Dash says.'". MTV. 9 October 2002. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Toni Braxton: More Than a Woman". Billboard. 16 November 2002. Archived from the original on 24 November 2002. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Critic Reviews for More Than A Woman". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Willman, Chris (November 22, 2002). "More Than a Woman Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Toni Braxton". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  16. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 103. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  17. ^ Gennoe, Dan (March 10, 2003). "Toni Braxton - 'More Than A Woman'". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on 2004-08-25. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  18. ^ a b c "Toni Braxton – More Than A Woman". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Musicline.de – Chartverfolgung – Toni Braxton – More Than A Woman". Media Control (in German). PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved October 5, 2008. 
  20. ^ "More Than A Woman – Toni Braxton". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Chart Log UK: 1994–2006". The Official Charts Company. Zobbel.de. Retrieved November 1, 2008.