More Than a Woman (album)

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More Than a Woman
Studio album by Toni Braxton
Released November 18, 2002 (2002-11-18)
Recorded 2001–02
Studio
Genre
Length 50:08
Label Arista
Producer
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 (2002-10-15)

More Than a Woman is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Toni Braxton, released on November 18, 2002 by Arista Records. Most of the songs were written by Braxton, her husband Keri Lewis, and her sister Tamar Braxton. The album debuted at number thirteen on the Billboard 200, selling 98,000 copies in its first week.[1] It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on December 13, 2002.

Composition[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.[2] 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."[3]

Songs[edit]

The album's first half alternates between edgy hip hop-flavored fare, the club-ready and more experimental R&B.[4] 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.[2] 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.[2] The second track "Give It Back" is another hip-hop song, which features the rapper Big Tymers and it's a " club-ready track."[4] CD Universe described it as a "moody, mid-tempo track, which boasts a bit of hip-hop flavor.[5] The third track "A Better Man" is a "futuristic R&B ballad."[4] The fourth track and the only single of the album "Hit the Freeway" features Loon and it's an edgy hip-hop flavored track.[4] 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.[2] 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.[3] Toni's vocals also provide a mix, as her gravelly tones are pit against an electric guitar.[2] People magazine considered the track "an instant Toni classic, right up there with 'Breathe Again,' 'Let It Flow' and 'Un-Break My Heart.'[3] 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.[4]

The second half of the album slips back into more measured R&B.[4] 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.[4] 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".[3] The tenth track "Tell Me" is a sexy song about performing fantasies for one's love.[6] The eleventh track "And I Love You" is "a requite ballad courtesy of longtime collaborator and mentor Babyface".[4] 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.[2]

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.[7] However, after Gotti had leaked the song to radio, Braxton and Arista decided not to include the song on the final track listing.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10] After Braxton and her then-husband/manager Keri Lewis had a falling out with "Better Man" producers over credits and 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.[11]

"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.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[6]
BBC Music positive[2]
Billboard average[13]
Blender 4/5 stars[14]
Entertainment Weekly B[15]
People positive[3]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[17]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[4]
Yahoo! Music UK 7/10 stars[18]

According to Metacritic, the album holds a score of 77 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews", based on 8 reviews.[14] 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."[6] 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."[6] 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."[6] Erlewine picked "Let Me Show You the Way (Out)", "Hit the Freeway" and "Tell Me" as the album's best tracks.[6] 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."[14] Chuck Arnold wrote for People that "her sultry, husky alto shines as she bends and jazzily twists notes with that special Toni touch."[3] 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."[3] "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."[14]

Keysha Davis from BBC Music thought that "More Than A Woman will sell bucket-loads."[2] 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."[2] 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."[15] 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".[4]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Let Me Show You the Way (Out)"  
4:19
2. "Give It Back" (featuring Big Tymers)
Mannie Fresh 3:38
3. "A Better Man"  
  • Matias
  • Martin
  • G. Baker
4:00
4. "Hit the Freeway" (featuring Loon) The Neptunes 3:49
5. "Lies, Lies, Lies"  
Keri 5:10
6. "Rock Me, Roll Me"  
  • Toni Braxton
  • Lewis
  • Tamar Braxton
Keri 4:57
7. "Selfish"  
  • Toni Braxton
  • Robert Smith
  • Kenisha Pratt
  • Brady Smith
  • Tamar Braxton
  • Blake English
Robert "Big Bert" Smith 3:47
8. "Do You Remember When"   Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins 4:03
9. "Me & My Boyfriend"  
3:44
10. "Tell Me"   Keri 4:10
11. "And I Love You"   Babyface 4:02
12. "Always"  
  • Toni Braxton
  • R. Smith
  • Tamar Braxton
  • Pratt
  • B. Smith
  • English
R. Smith 4:29
Notes
Sampling credits

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of More Than a Woman.[19]

  • Toni Braxton – vocals, backing vocals, executive producer
  • Pat Aiken – violin
  • Cedric Anderson – recording assistance (track 4)
  • Rene Antelmann – mixing assistance (track 3)
  • Babyface – bass, drum programming, keyboards, production (track 11)
  • Gerrard C. Baker – all instruments, production, programming (track 3)
  • Evelyn Beauman – project assistant coordinator
  • Brian Benning – violin
  • Sally Berman – violin
  • Big Tymers – rap (track 2)
  • Paul Boutin – recording (track 11)
  • Leslie Brathwaite – mixing (track 2)
  • Tamar Braxton – backing vocals
  • Rebecca Bunnell – violin
  • Andrew "Drew" Coleman – recording (track 4)
  • Chris "Daddy" Dave – drums (track 5)
  • Kevin "KD" Davis – mixing (tracks 1, 6, 10)
  • Drew Dembowski – contrabass
  • Thomas Diener – viola
  • Assa Drori – orchestra management, violin
  • Tony Duran – cover and matching interior photo
  • Blake English – guitar, mixing, recording (tracks 7, 12)
  • Daniela Federici – inside photo
  • Brent Fischer – conductor, orchestra arrangements (track 6); orchestra project coordinator, orchestra management
  • Clare Fischer – conductor, orchestra arrangements (track 12)
  • Paul Foley – recording (tracks 7, 12)
  • Armen Garabedian – violin
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing (track 11)
  • Stephen Glicken – mixing assistance (tracks 6, 12)
  • Mark "DJ Exit" Goodchild – recording (track 2)
  • Irv Gotti – production (track 9)
  • Agnes Gottschewski – violin
  • Frannie Graham – recording assistance (track 4)
  • Lynn Grants – viola
  • Maurice Grants – cello
  • Henry Gronnier – violin
  • John Hanes – additional Pro Tools (track 11)
  • Amy Hershberger – violin
  • Oscar Hidalgo – contrabass
  • Steve Hodge – mixing (track 5)
  • Allen D. Hong – project coordinator
  • John Horesco IV – mixing assistance (track 4)
  • Jean-Marie Horvat – recording (track 12)
  • Mike Houge – recording assistance (tracks 7, 12)
  • Richard Thomas Jennings – art direction
  • Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins – mixing, music, production (track 8)
  • Joe Ketendjian – violin
  • Ricky Kinchen – bass (track 5)
  • Carole Kleister-Castillo – viola
  • Renita Koven – viola
  • Johana Krejci – violin
  • John Kurlander – string recording (track 8)
  • Phillip Levy – violin
  • Keith Lewis – guitar (track 5)
  • Keri Lewis – co-production, Pro Tools (track 1); recording (tracks 1–3, 5, 6, 10); arrangements (tracks 1, 5, 10); vocal production (track 3); guitar, mixing, Rhodes (track 5); drum programming, keyboards, production (tracks 5, 6, 10); executive producer
  • Brett Liebermann – mixing assistance (track 7)
  • Kirk Lightburn – song coordinator (track 3)
  • Loon – rap (track 4)
  • Jeremy Lubbock – string arrangements (track 8)
  • Earl Madison – cello
  • Larry Mah – string recording (track 6)
  • Victor Mancusi – mixing, recording (track 3)
  • Mannie Fresh – production (track 2)
  • Andrea Martin – arrangements, backing vocals, production (track 3)
  • Tomi Martin – guitar (track 8)
  • Fabian Marasciullo – recording (track 8)
  • Ivan Matias – arrangements, production (track 3)
  • Dennis Molchan – violin
  • Jorge Moraga – viola
  • The Neptunes – production (track 4)
  • Irma Neumann – violin
  • No I.D. – all instruments, production, programming (track 1)
  • O'Dell – guitar (track 5)
  • Dion Peters – mixing assistance (track 1)
  • Kazi Pitelka – viola
  • Mark Pitts – additional production (track 3)
  • Herb Powers Jr. – mastering
  • Edward Quesada – recording assistance (track 11)
  • Antonio "L.A." Reid – executive producer
  • Tim Roberts – mixing assistance (track 11)
  • Julie Rogers – violin
  • Ricky Rouse – guitar (track 9)
  • Chink Santana – production (track 9)
  • Dexter Simmons – mixing (track 8)
  • Ivy Skoff – production coordinator (track 11)
  • Dan Smith – cello
  • Robert "Big Bert" Smith – production (tracks 7, 12); keyboards (track 12)
  • Brian Springer – mixing, recording (track 9)
  • Stokley – acoustic guitar, backing vocals, solo guitar (track 5)
  • Spencer Swanson – recording assistance (tracks 7, 12)
  • Phil Tan – mixing (track 4)
  • Yen-Hue Tan – recording assistance (tracks 7, 12)
  • Cecilia Tasn – cello
  • Craig Taylor – recording assistance (track 11)
  • Miwako Watanabe – violin
  • Pharrell Williams – additional vocals, instrument arrangements, instruments (track 4)
  • Terrence "Bearwolf" Williams – keyboards (track 2)
  • Theresa Wilson – A&R administrator

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[30] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Ref.
Germany November 18, 2002 Sony [31]
United States November 19, 2002 Arista [32]
Japan November 27, 2002 Sony [33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martens, Todd (November 27, 2002). "Shania Bounds 'Up' To No. 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=8215736&style=music&fulldesc=T
  6. ^ a b c d e f Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. More Than a Woman - Toni Braxton at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  7. ^ "Toni Braxton and Irv Gotti". Pop Music. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Toni Braxton's Got No More Love For Irv Gotti". Pop Music. February 18, 2002. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Toni Braxton Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ "Toni Braxton - Give it Back feat. Big Tymers (12") - hhv.de - shop". HHV. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "Toni Braxton: More Than a Woman". Billboard. 16 November 2002. Archived from the original on 24 November 2002. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Critic Reviews for More Than A Woman". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Willman, Chris (November 22, 2002). "More Than a Woman Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Toni Braxton". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ More Than a Woman (CD liner notes). Toni Braxton. Arista Records. 2002. 07822-14749-2. 
  20. ^ "Toni Braxton – More Than A Woman" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Toni Braxton – More Than A Woman" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Toni Braxton, More Than A Woman" (in German). charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  23. ^ トニー・ブラクストンのアルバム売り上げランキング [Toni Braxton album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Toni Braxton – More Than A Woman". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  25. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: Darren B – David Byrne". Zobbel. Retrieved November 1, 2008. 
  26. ^ "Toni Braxton – Chart history: Billboard 200". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Toni Braxton – Chart history: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  28. ^ "2003 Year End Charts: Top Billboard 200 Albums". Billboard.biz. Prometheus Global Media. December 27, 2003. Archived from the original on February 25, 2002. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  29. ^ "2003 Year End Charts: Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard.biz. Prometheus Global Media. December 27, 2003. Archived from the original on October 1, 2002. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Toni Braxton – More Than a Woman". Recording Industry Association of America. December 13, 2002. Retrieved October 20, 2014.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  31. ^ "More Than a Woman" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  32. ^ "More than a Woman". Amazon.com. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  33. ^ モア・ザン・ア・ウーマン [More Than a Woman] (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved October 20, 2014.