The Heat (Toni Braxton album)
|Studio album by Toni Braxton|
|Released||April 25, 2000|
|Producer||Toni Braxton (also exec.), Keri Lewis, Babyface (also exec.), Daryl Simmons, Rodney Jerkins, Bryan-Michael Cox, David Foster, Keith Crouch, Teddy Bishop, Jazze Pha, Kevin Hicks|
|Toni Braxton chronology|
|Singles from The Heat|
The Heat is the third studio album by American recording artist Toni Braxton. Released in the United States on April 25, 2000 by LaFace Records, the album marked Braxton's departure from her ballads in favor of a more urban sound. Most of the songs (including the nearly instrumental "The Art of Love") were written and produced by Braxton and her husband Keri Lewis (a former member of Mint Condition), two ballads were penned by Diane Warren, and collaborations featured rappers Dr. Dre and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.
The Heat opened at number two on the Billboard 200 chart selling 194,448 units in its first week. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 13, 2000, with sales of over 2.2 million copies within the U.S. Additionally, the album was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2001 Grammy Awards, while lead single "He Wasn't Man Enough" won for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and was nominated for Best R&B Song.
Background and production
After the success of her sophomore studio album, Secrets (1996), which spawned Braxton's signature-song and biggest hit of her career, "Un-Break My Heart", and sold over 15 million copies worldwide, Braxton filed a suit to be released from her contract with Arista and LaFace records in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing a law that states employers may not enforce labor or service after seven years. After a year of legal issues, Braxton settled her lawsuit with LaFace Records, with plans to release a new album in May 1999.
In February 1999, Babyface told MTV News that, "We're getting ready head back in the studio with Toni and we've got everything worked out, and we're really excited about getting back into the studio, getting back to the music." However, only in January 2000, during an interview with CNN.com, Toni revealed that the album was going to be released in March 2000, while stating, "Some of the producers on the album are, of course Babyface, R. Kelly, David Foster, Keith Crouch and Keri Lewis of Mint Condition, just to name a few," while also revealing collaborations with Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes from TLC and Dr. Dre.
Music and lyrics
"The Heat" is built on solid ballads and smoldering, mid-tempo dance numbers, as noted by Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Colin Ross of PopMatters noted that, "By taking a more active role in the writing and production of the set, Toni's material begins to be constructed around her voice rather than the latest producer's sound."
The album's first single and opening track, "He Wasn't Man Enough", was written and produced by Rodney Jerkins. The R&B song, with synth-funk bassline and Jerkins' taut beats and harp, has Toni warning a female friend not to marry a man the singer knows all too well and that came back begging for forgiveness. On the title track, "The Heat", co-written by Keri Lewis, was described as "an infectious mid-tempo groove." Lyrically, the song talks about wanting to "get it on" and enjoying coed skinny-dipping. Third track, "Spanish Guitar" ,was written by Diane Warren (who wrote "Un-Break My Heart") and was considered a "latin ballad", inspired by "Un-Break My Heart". Lyrically, the song has the singer inviting an alluring stranger to play her "through the night" like a "Spanish Guitar." The fourth track "Just Be a Man About It" is a telephone breakup song, with Toni once again questioning the status of a partner's manhood and Dr. Dre playing the wayward lover breaking the news to her, while fifth track, "Gimme Some", features Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and was named "an R&B/summer 'jerky funker' track", with Braxton demanding intercourse and oral sex from a man.
"I'm Still Breathing" is another song written by Diane Warren and talks about a woman stung by a painful breakup who summons strength, while "Fairy Tale", co-written and produced by Babyface, is an "acoustic piece" where the singer implies that being "just friends" may be healthier than a "love affair." Pillow talk and ecstatic moaning characterize "The Art of Love," a track that features no discernible lyrics, Braxton's sighs and moans over undulating rhythms". On "Speaking in Tongues," a "sensual affair" with warm harmonies, spiritual expressions are co-opted and woven amid passionate propositions including, "Talk dirty to me." The tenth track "Maybe" has rapid-fire lyrics, informed by hip-hop vocal rhythms and lyrically discuss the singer debating —in rapturous detail— whether or not to have drinks and sex again with her boyfriend ("Should I give him some/Will he make me hot/Will he hit the spot I love a lot", she sings). The eleventh track "You've Been Wrong" was considered "plodding", while the twelfth and final track, "Never Just For a Ring", finds Braxton questioning her lovers lack of fidelity the song features the embittered choral hook "Why?, when?, where?, how?, who?, what?", made you go off and do this crazy thing.
|The New Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The album received a positive reception from most music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic gave the album four stars (out of possible five), writing that the album "is a confident, assured, sexy effort that reaffirms Braxton's status as one of the finest contemporary mainstream soul singers." While praising the singles "He Wasn't Man Enough", "Spanish Guitar" and "Just Be a Man About It", he wrote that "The Heat slightly runs out of momentum toward the end, but there aren't many dull spots on the record -- it's all stylish, sultry, seductive, appealing urban contemporary soul that confirms Braxton's prodigious talents." Jim Farber wrote a positive review for Entertainment Weekly, stating that the album is "tasteful, well-performed, and -- best of all -- consistent stuff, throwing the lovelorn a reliable lifeline."
Collin Ross gave it seven stars (out of possible ten) and wrote for PopMatters that the album has "a mixed bag", but "despite being largely formulaic, The Heat offers some moments of quality." He also hoped that "Keri Lewis/Braxton collaborative will play a more substantial role on her next album." Barry Walters wrote a favorable review for Rolling Stone, saying that the album "updates and diversifies her stylistic surroundings while delivering the expected boudoir soundtrack." He also wrote that "Braxton radiates sublimely sensual romance" on the album.
"The Heat" debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 194,448 units in its first week. It debuted at number-one on the magazine's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, while the album's lead-single, "He Wasn't Man Enough", held onto the top spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for the second week in a row. Later, the album fell to number 7, selling 101,000 copies. In its third week, the album fell out to number 9. "The Heat" was certified 2x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and as of April 11, 2011, the album has sold 2,093,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Soundscan figures.
The album topped the Canadian Albums Chart, while it reached number 3 on the UK Albums Chart, staying 19 weeks on the UK charts. The album also reached the top-ten in many countries, such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. As of 2002, the album had sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
Awards and nominations
"The Heat" was nominated for many awards. At the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, the album's lead-single, "He Wasn't Man Enough", was nominated for Best R&B Song and eventually won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, while the album itself was nominated for Best R&B Album. She was also nominated for Best R&B/Soul album, Female on the Soul Train Music Awards, but lost to "Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1" by Jill Scott. Toni won 2 American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Album (The Heat).
The album's lead-single, "He Wasn't Man Enough", was released on March 11, 2000, with critical acclaim, and won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. It was also a success on the charts, where it peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. Elsewhere, it topped the Canadian Hot 100 chart, while reaching the top-ten in Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The album's second single in the U.S. was the song "Just Be a Man About It". It reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
Outside of the U. S., "Spanish Guitar" was released as the album's second single on September 19, 2000 (initially LaFace Records didn't release it as a single, due to the promotion of "Just Be a Man About It"). It achieved moderate success on the charts around the world, reaching the top-forty in Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland. In Brazil, the song was a huge success due to its inclusion on the soap opera "Laços de Família", reaching number 27 on the Brazil Hot 100 chart, while in the U.S., when it was released as the album's third single, "Spanish Guitar" only managed to reach number 98 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 20 on the Adult Contemporary and topped the Dance Music/Club Play Singles. The album's final single, "Maybe", achieved minor success on the R&B and dance charts, due to the cancelled racy video.
|1.||"He Wasn't Man Enough"||Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, LaShawn Daniels, Harvey Mason, Jr.||Rodney Jerkins||4:21|
|2.||"The Heat"||Keri Lewis, Toni Braxton||Keri Lewis, Toni Braxton||3:30|
|3.||"Spanish Guitar"||Diane Warren||David Foster||4:47|
|4.||"Just Be a Man About It"||Toni Braxton, Johntá Austin, Teddy Bishop, Bryan-Michael Cox||Bishop, Braxton, Bryan-Michael Cox||4:50|
|5.||"Gimme Some" (featuring Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes)||Phalon Alexander, Toni Braxton, Babyface, Lisa Lopes||Babyface, Jazze Pha||4:03|
|6.||"I'm Still Breathing"||Diane Warren||David Foster||4:15|
|7.||"Fairy Tale"||Marc Harris, Tommy Sims, Babyface||Babyface||4:22|
|8.||"The Art of Love"||Toni Braxton, Keri Lewis||Braxton, Lewis||3:47|
|9.||"Speaking in Tongues"||Toni Braxton||Braxton, Lewis||3:46|
|10.||"Maybe"||Toni Braxton, Keith Crouch, Samuel Gause, Mechalie Jamison, John Smith||Crouch, Braxton||3:08|
|11.||"You've Been Wrong"||Toni Braxton, Brian Casey, Brandon Casey, Teddy Bishop, Kevin Hicks, Thom Bell, Linda Creed||Bishop, Hicks||3:45|
|12.||"Never Just for a Ring"||Daryl Simmons, Toni Braxton, Pure Soul||Daryl Simmons||4:01|
The W by Wu-Tang Clan
|Irish Albums Chart number-one album
December 23–30, 2000
Hot Shot by Shaggy
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