Secrets (Toni Braxton album)

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Studio album by Toni Braxton
Released June 14, 1996 (1996-06-14)
Recorded January 1995 – May 1996
Bosstown Recording Studios
Studio LaCoCo
(Atlanta, Georgia)
Ocean Way Recording
The Record Plant
(Los Angeles, California)
The Tracken Place
(Beverly Hills, California)
Genre R&B, soul, pop
Label LaFace
Producer Babyface (also exec.), Antonio "L.A." Reid (also exec.), R. Kelly, David Foster, Tony Rich, Soulshock & Karlin, Keith Crouch
Toni Braxton chronology
Toni Braxton
The Heat
Singles from Secrets
  1. "You're Makin' Me High"/"Let It Flow"
    Released: May 21, 1996
  2. "Un-Break My Heart"
    Released: October 7, 1996
  3. "I Don't Want To"/"I Love Me Some Him"
    Released: March 11, 1997
  4. "How Could an Angel Break My Heart"
    Released: November 4, 1997

Secrets is the second studio album by American recording artist Toni Braxton. It was released in the United States on June 14, 1996 by LaFace Records. In all album sales in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Australia, she was awarded 13× platinum with the officially labeled Sony Music Entertainment. After selling eight million albums domestically of her debut album, earning several awards including Best New Artist at the 1994 Grammy Awards, and having consecutive top ten singles on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, a lot was riding on this project. In the fall of 1996, Braxton kicked-off the Secrets Tour playing dates in America and Europe. The album was nominated for Best Pop Album at the 1997 Grammy Awards. Secrets has been certified 8× platinum for shipping 8 million copies in the U.S. and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.[1]

Album information[edit]

The first single released, "You're Makin' Me High", became a smash success earning Braxton her first number-one single on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. Its B-side, "Let It Flow", was another radio airplay smash and was featured on the multi-platinum 1995 Waiting to Exhale.

The second single, "Un-Break My Heart", became a monumental hit peaking at number one on the Hot 100 for 11 consecutive weeks, number one on the Hot Dance Club Play, and number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, besides topping the singles charts in several other countries.

After the triumph of two consecutive number-one singles, Braxton offered her third single, "I Don't Want To", during the spring of 1997. The R. Kelly-written and -produced single made the top 20 of the Hot 100 and the top 10 of the R&B chart. Its B-side, "I Love Me Some Him", was a major radio airplay hit domestically.

The fourth official single, "How Could an Angel Break My Heart", which features Kenny G on the saxophone, became another top 40 hit in the United Kingdom while failing to dent the charts in the U.S., but propelled Secrets to eight-time platinum status.

The album was well-received both critically and commercially. Braxton also added more awards to her mantle, which included another two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.


The album's first song "Come on Over Here" is a "finger-poppingly upbeat", sultry groove track produced by Tony Rich. It was described as "a neo-Motown composition.[2] The second track and lead single, the airily funky "You're Makin' Me High", was produced by Babyface and Bryce Wilson.[2] It was also nominated for Best R&B Song at the Grammy Awards.[3] The third track "There's No Me Without You" is a romantic song.[4] The fourth track and second single "Un-Break My Heart" is a ballad written by the songwriter Diane Warren.[5] She played the finished song to Arista Records president Clive Davis. He thought it would be perfect for Toni Braxton. With background vocals by Shanice Wilson and produced by David Foster, the song had 11 weeks at number one at pop and a 14-week stay at number one adult contemporary in late 1996.[5] It also won a 1997 Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[3] It is a song of blistering heartbreak, as Braxton sings to her former lover, begging him to return to her and undo all the pain he has cause.[6] The fifth track "Talking in His Sleep" is an "adultery song".[4]

The sixth track "How Could an Angel Break My Heart" was co-written by Babyface and Braxton and features the saxophonist Kenny G.[2] Over a lulling ballad melody, the singer makes her agony a thing of beauty, pausing with daring vocal timing over the lyrics' details of a lover's wayward behavior.[2] "Let It Flow" from the soundtrack to Waiting to Exhale, is presently a staple of urban contemporary radio.[2] The song is a sultry tune that requires the singer to reach down to her lowest register.[2] In "Why Should I Care", Braxton ascends to a high, breathy croon,[2] while In "I Don't Want To", R. Kelly provides the soft bump-and-grind sound,[3] in a song about a romance in denial,[2] and "I Love Me Some Him" is also written by R. Kelly.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[8]
Robert Christgau A−[7]
Entertainment Weekly A−[2]
Q 3/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone (average)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[9]
Spin (7/10)[3]

The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic gave to the album 4.5 out of 5 stars, writing that "her vocal talent is what unites Secrets and makes it into a first-rate contemporary R&B collection. Braxton is a singer who can cross over into the smooth confines of adult contemporary radio without losing or betraying the soul that lies at the foundation of her music, and her talent burns at its brightest on Secrets."[8] Ken Tucker wrote for Entertainment Weekly that "Taken together, this pair of songs not only demonstrates Braxton's technical range but confirms her ability to deliver Secrets' sermons of sensuality—little gospels of good and bad loving—with unusual eloquence."[2] Robert Christgau in his consumer guide for MSN wrote that "The apprentice diva of the debut was modest, composed, virtually anonymous. I'll take the right It Girl anytime—especially one who insists on getting her props."[7]

David Frick from Rolling Stone wrote that "As designer champagne 'n' anguish R&B goes, Secrets goes down nice and easy."[4] The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 selling over 152,000 copies its first week and at the top of the R&B Albums, her second. It spent 92 weeks on the Pop chart and as of March 2012 has sold over 7,346,000 in the US and over 15 million worldwide.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Come on Over Here"   Tony Rich, Marc Nelson, Darrell Spencer Tony Rich, L.A Reid 3:36
2. "You're Makin' Me High"   Babyface, Bryce Wilson Babyface, Bryce Wilson 4:26
3. "There's No Me Without You"   Babyface Babyface 4:19
4. "Un-Break My Heart"   Diane Warren David Foster 4:29
5. "Talking in His Sleep"   Toni Braxton, Keith Crouch Keith Crouch 5:33
6. "How Could an Angel Break My Heart"   Babyface, Toni Braxton Babyface 4:20
7. "Find Me a Man"   Babyface Babyface 4:27
8. "Let It Flow"   Babyface Babyface 4:21
9. "Why Should I Care"   Babyface Babyface 4:25
10. "I Don't Want To"   R. Kelly R. Kelly 4:17
11. "I Love Me Some Him"   SoulShock & Karlin, Andrea Martin, Gloria Stewart SoulShock & Karlin 5:09
12. "In the Late of Night" (includes "Toni's Secrets" – 0:15) Babyface, Jonathan Buck Babyface 5:18
Total length:

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
Falling into You by Celine Dion
Dutch Albums Chart number-one album
November 23, 1996 – December 14, 1996
Succeeded by
Falling into You by Celine Dion
Preceded by
Voll Der Winter Vol. 4 by Die Schlümpfe
Bocelli by Andrea Bocelli
Swiss Albums Chart number-one album
January 5, 1997 (first run)
January 26, 1997 (second run)
Succeeded by
Bocelli by Andrea Bocelli
Bocelli by Andrea Bocelli
Preceded by
Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt
Norwegian Albums Chart number-one album
February 25, 1997
Succeeded by
Smurfehits 2 by Geir Børresen and Smurfene


  • Toni Braxton: Vocal
  • Jakkai Butler, Andrea Martin, Sherree Ford-Payne, Chante Moore, Marc Nelson, Tony Rich, Shanice: Backing vocals
  • Babyface: Acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, programming
  • Dean Parks, Michael Thompson: Guitars
  • Keith Crouch: Organ, multiple instruments
  • R. Kelly: Backing vocals, multiple instruments
  • Greg Phillinganes: Piano and synthesizers
  • Nathan East, Reggie Hamilton: Bass
  • Luis Conte: Percussion
  • Randy Walker, Bryce Wilson: Programming
  • Kenny G.: Saxophone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format(s) Label
United States June 14, 1996 CD, tape Sony Music Entertainment America
Indonesia July 1, 1996 Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia
Malaysia Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia
Singapore Sony Music Entertainment Singapore
Brunei Sony Music Entertainment Brunei
Australia Sony Music Entertainment Australia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Levine, Nick (2010-05-03). "Toni Braxton: 'Yesterday'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tucker, Ken (July 12, 1996). "Secrets Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Toni Braxton - Secrets CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d Fricke, David (December 5, 1996). "Toni Braxton: Secrets : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  5. ^ a b "Un-Break My Heart - Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton - Songfacts". Songfacts. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert. "Secrets". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Secrets - Toni Braxton at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Toni Braxton – Secrets". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  11. ^ " – Chartverfolgung – Toni Braxton – Secrets". GfK Entertainment (in German). PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved October 5, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Top 40 album- és válogatáslemez-lista – 1997. 8. hét". Mahasz (in Hungarian). Retrieved October 5, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Secrets – Toni Braxton". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved July 24, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Chart Stats – Toni Braxton – Secrets". The Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2008. 
  15. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  16. ^ "IFPI Austria – Gold & Platin". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in German). April 10, 1997. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  17. ^ "CRIA: Search Certification Database". Canadian Recording Industry Association. December 31, 1997. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  18. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1997 Awards". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  19. ^ "IFPI Finland – Toni Braxton". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in Finnish). Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Certifications Albums Or – année 1997". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (in French). June 17, 1997. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Toni+Braxton; 'Secrets')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Goud/Platina". NVPI (in Dutch). Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Salgstroféer". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in Norwegian). Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  24. ^ "ZPAV platinum certification awards – 1997". Zwiazek Producentów Audio Video. September 16, 1997. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  25. ^ "IFPI Sweden – Guld & Platina – År 1987–1998" (PDF). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (in Swedish). February 10, 1997. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Swiss Certifications – Awards 1998". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  27. ^ "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. April 1, 1997. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  28. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. October 3, 2000. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  29. ^ Mayfield, Geoff (December 25, 1999). "Top Pop Albums of the '90s". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 111 (52): 20. Retrieved October 15, 2010.