Full Moon (Brandy song)
|Single by Brandy|
|from the album Full Moon|
|B-side||"Die Without You"|
|Released||April 1, 2002|
|Recorded||2001; The Record Plant
(Los Angeles, California)
|Brandy singles chronology|
"Full Moon" is a song by American recording artist Brandy Norwood, from her same-titled third studio album (2002). A breakaway from Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins' dominating influence on the album, it was written and produced by Mike City, one of the few producers Norwood worked with on Full Moon apart from Jerkins and his production and songwriting crew. The song initially impacted on US radios on April 1, 2002 as the album's second single. Described by Norwood as "ghetto", the track is a R&B and pop song that makes use of pop and hip-hop influences and a simple, piano–led production. Lyrically, the song follows Norwood as she experiences a love at first sight in a nightclub, whose circumstances she attributes to a full moon night.
The song was well received by music critics, with many complimenting Norwood's voice as well as the bass–heavy production, calling it a standout track from the album. As a single, it performed moderately well across global formats. It charted within the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart stateside, number 15 on the UK Singles Chart and made it to the top 30 in France and Italy, where it enjoyed equal commercial success as previous single "What About Us?".
The song's music video, directed by Chris Robinson, features Norwood telescoping at night. As the video progresses, she attends a house party where she meets a man with whom she is eventually riding off through Los Angeles, watching the rising full moon. Norwood was nearly six months pregnant at the time of the shot. "Full Moon" was included on the set-lists of the Human World Tour (2009), the Slayana World Tour (2016) and performed live by Norwood during several televised events, including Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary Celebration and BET's Just Human special (2008).
Background and recording
After the end of her promotional touring for her album Never Say Never (1998), the cancellation of her UPN sitcom Moesha and a flurry of tabloid headlines discussing her nervous breakdown in November 1999, Norwood went on a lengthy hiatus to reflect and take some introspective looks. In mid-2000, she started reconsecrating herself on her musical career, contributing songs to albums such as Urban Renewal (2001), which introduced a scratchy, evocative edge to Norwood's voice, now having a deeper and warmer tone with a textured lower register and notably stronger falsetto. In fall 2000, Norwood finally began conceiving ideas for a third studio album with the Atlantic label. While Rodney Jerkins, the main producer of her previous album, and his team, had been working on several new songs for the singer's upcoming project in hopes of recreating the winning chemistry of Never Say Never, Norwood wanted to make sure that she was gaining more creative control over the project and thus, arranged meetings with all her writers and musicians to discuss the lyricals topics and sounds she wanted for the album.
While Jerkins maintained his status as the album's executive producer, contributing most to its track listing with his team, Norwood decided to record with several producers for the album, including Unsung Entertainment head Mike City, with whom she had previously worked on the song "Open" for the soundtrack of the animated comedy film Osmosis Jones (2001). According to City, he wrote "Full Moon" in "two or three weeks, writing a line a day." Though Norwood and City crafted several more songs, the pair was insecure if "Full Moon" was going to make it to the final track listing since it differentiated stylistically from what the singer had recorded before. "I'm glad it did because it really showed where I was coming from musically and vocally [...] and I could relate to the lyrics of the song", Brandy said the following year in an interview with MTV News. "It took him a while to understand my crazy ideas, but [...] he really challenged himself. If you listen to it, it's different from what he's already done in the past [...]" Brandy has characterised "Full Moon" as "ghetto", explaining that it is "pop and R&B at the same time [and] has a lot of elements to it." Lyrcially, the song deals with the circumstances of an unexpected love at first sight: "Anything can happen on a full moon. On that particular [song], I'm actually falling in love with somebody I'm just meeting", she said. "I hope that's the second single, because it's different. I've never heard anything like it."
Release and reception
"Full Moon" was released as the second single from the Full Moon album. It was added to United States contemporary hit radios and rhythmic contemporary radios playlists on April 1, 2002. The song was generally released in three formats, one being a CD single including "Die Without You", a cover version of P.M. Dawn's 1992 single "I'd Die Without You" featuring Norwood's younger brother Ray J, and remixes of "What About Us?", and the other two being limited maxi or 12" singles with twelve different remixes of the song. In addition, "Full Moon" was remixed by several producers and DJs. Rappers Fat Joe and Twista both appeared on separate versions of the Precision Remix which was crafted by Glen Marchese. Danish production duo Cutfather & Joe ("C&J") produced a remix of the song that laid the vocals over the 1983 electro–funk single "I.O.U." by British band Freeez, while Gorillaz collaborator Soulchild utilised American R&B singers Michael Wycoff's "Lookin' Up to You". Producer Damien Mendis re-worked the song entirely around the basis of Chic's 1979 disco song "I Want Your Love."
Upon its release, the song garnered largely positive reviews by contemporary music critics. Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine felt that Norwood afforded "the tired love at first sight genre new life" on "Full Moon." He complimented the track for its "hypnotic oscillating bassline and a chorus catchy enough to make the track the next summer anthem." Chuck Taylor of Billboard noted that the song portrayed "how a few years off have allowed [Norwood] to evolve and grow" and called it "another hit destined for the R&B and pop saturation." He found that "the best part of the song is in the verses, which Brandy delivers with a rich, bassy sensuality" while he declared the chorus as "sing-songy and on the repetitious side, but multiple layers of creamy harmonies help it rise above the mundane." J. Victoria Sanders from PopMatters called the record "a club-ready song, with a lulling drumbeat and heavy bass." She further added that "her voice on this song, like many of the others, is slightly computerized without sounding overdone." Allmusic ranked the song among their favorite tracks on the album alongside "What About Us?" and "He Is".
For the week ending May 4, 2002, "Full Moon" entered the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 68, becoming Norwood's 13th entry on the chart. The song peaked at number 18 after ten weeks on the chart issue dated July 6, 2002, becoming Norwood's second single from Full Moon to crack the top 40. "Full Moon" fared slightly better on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, where it debuted at number 38 in the week ending April 15, 2002, becoming the highest debut on the chart that year. Norwood's 12th top twenty entry, it eventually reached number 16 in the week of June 8, 2002. In addition, the song reached number 11 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40, number 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and number 20 on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream. The dance mixes single reached number two on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart. The last single from Full Moon album to be released internationally, "Full Moon" entered the top thirty on the majority of the charts it appeared on but failed to match the success of its predecessor "What About Us?".
The single's music video was directed by Chris Robinson and filmed on various locations throughout Los Angeles, California on March 1-2, 2002. Norwood, who was nearly six months pregnant at the time of the video shot, does not dance in the video, which features model and Moesha actor Yoki Brown as her male counterpart. The final edit premiered on MTV's music video chart program Total Request Live on April 3, 2002, where it debuted at number ten and reached number three. It stayed on the show for forty-one days.
The video opens with Norwood stargazing through a telescope on her Los Angeles balcony at a full moon night. Through the instrument she turns her attention to someone's house party a few miles away, where she spots a longhaired male, portrayed by Brown, among the guests. She changes clothes and then rides through the hillside along the coast in her silver cabriolet. Once she has arrived, Norwood enters the shindig in hopes of meeting him. This serves as the catalyst for a distant flirt between her and Brown that continues as the song plays. During the bridge, he follows her back into the car. In the end they stop by a view point, watching the sinking full moon.
Formats and track listing
- Sample credits
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