Secrets (Toni Braxton album)

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Secrets
Toni Braxton - Secrets.png
Studio album by Toni Braxton
Released June 18, 1996 (1996-06-18)
Recorded January 1995 – May 1996[1]
Studio
Genre
Length 54:56
Label
Producer
Toni Braxton chronology
Toni Braxton
(1993)
Secrets
(1996)
The Heat
(2000)
Singles from Secrets
  1. "You're Makin' Me High"/"Let It Flow"
    Released: May 21, 1996
  2. "Un-Break My Heart"
    Released: October 21, 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 singer Toni Braxton. It was released on June 18, 1996, by LaFace Records and Arista Records. The album was nominated for Best Pop Album at the 1997 Grammy Awards. Secrets has been certified octuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Worldwide, the album has sold over 15 million copies. In support of the album, Braxton embarked on the Secrets Tour, playing dates in North America and Europe from August 1996 to October 1997.

Composition[edit]

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 a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.[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 Diane Warren.[5] She played the finished song to Arista Records president Clive Davis, who thought it would be perfect for Braxton. With background vocals by Shanice Wilson and production by David Foster, the song spent 11 weeks at number one on pop radio stations and 14 weeks at number one on adult contemporary radio in late 1996.[5] It also won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1997.[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 caused.[6] The fifth track "Talking in His Sleep" is about adultery.[4]

The sixth track "How Could an Angel Break My Heart" was co-written by Babyface and Braxton and features saxophonist Kenny G.[2] Over a "lulling" ballad melody, the lyrics detail a lover's wayward behavior.[2] "Let It Flow", included on the soundtrack to Waiting to Exhale, eventually became 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] On "Why Should I Care", Braxton ascends to a high, breathy croon,[2] while on "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" was written by Andrea Martin and Gloria Stewart and produced by Soulshock & Karlin.

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "You're Makin' Me High", earned 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 an airplay success and was featured on the soundtrack to the 1995 film Waiting to Exhale. The second single, "Un-Break My Heart", became a commercial success worldwide, 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, while topping the charts in several other countries. The third single from the album, "I Don't Want To", reached 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 airplay success domestically. The fourth official single, "How Could an Angel Break My Heart", which features Kenny G on the saxophone, became another top 40 entry in the United Kingdom, while failing to enter the charts in the US.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau A−[8]
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[10]

The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic wrote that Braxton's "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."[7] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "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, stated, "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."[8] David Frick from Rolling Stone commented, "As designer champagne 'n' anguish R&B goes, Secrets goes down nice and easy."[4]

Commercial performance[edit]

Secrets debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 (behind Metallica's Load) and at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, selling 170,000 copies in its first week.[11][12] The album was certified octuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 3, 2000,[13] and as of April 2011, it had sold 5,364,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[14] It sold an additional 927,000 copies through BMG Music Club.[15] In Canada, the album peaked at number five on the Canadian Albums Chart,[16] and was certified septuple platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) on December 31, 1997, denoting shipments in excess of 700,000 units.[17]

The album debuted at number 54 on the UK Albums Chart for the week ending June 29, 1996,[18] before peaking at number 10 in its 30th week on the chart, on January 25, 1997.[19] On April 1, 1997, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified Secrets double platinum for shipments of over 600,000 copies.[20] In continental Europe, the album topped the charts in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, while reaching the top five in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, and Sweden, and the top 10 in Ireland.[21][22][23] In Oceania, the album reached number 11 in both Australia and New Zealand;[21] it has been certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).[24][25] By May 2010, Secrets had sold 15 million copies worldwide.[26]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Producer(s) Length
1. "Come On Over Here"
Rich
3:36
2. "You're Makin' Me High"
  • Babyface
  • Wilson
  • Babyface
  • Wilson
4:26
3. "There's No Me Without You" Babyface Babyface Babyface 4:19
4. "Un-Break My Heart" Diane Warren Warren David Foster 4:30
5. "Talking in His Sleep" Toni Braxton Keith Crouch Crouch 5:33
6. "How Could an Angel Break My Heart"
  • Babyface
  • Braxton
  • Babyface
  • Braxton
Babyface 4:20
7. "Find Me a Man" Babyface Babyface Babyface 4:27
8. "Let It Flow" Babyface Babyface Babyface 4:21
9. "Why Should I Care" Babyface Babyface Babyface 4:25
10. "I Don't Want To" R. Kelly Kelly Kelly 4:17
11. "I Love Me Some Him" Soulshock & Karlin Soulshock & Karlin 5:09
12. "In the Late of Night" (includes hidden track "Toni's Secrets")
  • Babyface
  • Buck
Babyface 5:33
Total length: 54:56

Notes

  • ^a signifies an additional producer
  • ^b signifies a remixer
  • ^c signifies a remix producer

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Secrets.[27]

  • Toni Braxton – lead vocals, backing vocals (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9–11); all vocals (tracks 3, 6, 8, 12); vocal arrangement (track 5); creative direction, executive production
  • Sharliss Asbury – A&R coordination
  • Babyface – production (tracks 2, 3, 6–9, 12); guitar (tracks 2, 8); backing vocals (tracks 2, 7, 9); keyboards (tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12); acoustic guitar, electric guitar (tracks 3, 9); drum programming (tracks 3, 6, 7, 9, 12), synthesizer (track 8); executive production
  • Kyle Bess – recording assistance (tracks 3, 6–8, 12)
  • Paul Boutin – recording assistance (tracks 2, 3, 6–9, 12)
  • Leslie Brathwaite – recording (track 1)
  • "Bassy" Bob Brockmann – mixing (tracks 2, 9)
  • Jakkai Butler – backing vocals (track 2)
  • Jin Choi – recording assistance (track 6)
  • Luis Conte – percussion (tracks 3, 7, 12)
  • Keith Crouch – all other instruments, arrangement, B3 organ, production, recording, vocal arrangement (track 5)
  • Sharon Daley – A&R coordination
  • Nathan East – bass (tracks 6, 12)
  • Russell Elevado – recording (track 2)
  • Felipe Elgueta – recording (track 4)
  • Sherree Ford-Payne – backing vocals (track 5)
  • David Foster – arrangement, keyboard programming, production (track 4)
  • Simon FranglenSynclavier programming (track 4)
  • John Frye – recording assistance (track 1)
  • Kenny G – saxophone (tracks 6, 12)
  • Jon Gass – mixing (tracks 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12)
  • Brad Gilderman – recording (tracks 2, 3, 6–9, 12)
  • Frank Gonzales – recording assistance (track 10)
  • Reggie Griffin – guitar (track 8)
  • Mick Guzauski – mixing (track 4)
  • Brad Haehnel – recording assistance (track 6)
  • Reggie Hamilton – bass (track 3)
  • Brandon Harris – recording assistance (tracks 3, 4, 6, 7, 12)
  • Richard Huredia – recording assistance (tracks 3, 6, 12)
  • Booker T. Jones III – mixing (track 5)
  • R. Kelly – all instruments, arrangement, backing vocals, mixing, production (track 10)
  • Bill Kinsley – recording assistance (track 6)
  • Eugene Lo – recording (track 5)
  • Ron Lowe – mixing assistance (track 10)
  • Jeremy Lubbock – string arrangement, string conducting (tracks 3, 6, 12)
  • Glen Marchese – recording assistance (track 8)
  • Manny Marroquin – recording (track 11)
  • Andrea Martin – backing vocals (track 11)
  • John Merchant – recording assistance (track 10)
  • Peter Mokran – mixing, recording (track 10)
  • Chanté Moore – backing vocals (tracks 2, 7, 9)
  • Marc Nelson – backing vocals (tracks 1, 2, 9)
  • Dean Parks – acoustic guitar (track 4)
  • Greg PhillinganesRhodes (track 6); piano (tracks 6, 7, 12)
  • Neal Pogue – recording (track 1)
  • L.A. Reid – production (track 1); backing vocal arrangement (track 4); executive production
  • Dave Reitzas – string engineering (track 12)
  • Bryan Reminic – recording assistance (track 2)
  • Tony Rich – all instruments, arrangement, backing vocals, production (track 1)
  • Marnie Riley – mixing assistance (track 4)
  • Nigel Sawyer – design assistance
  • Larry Schalit – recording assistance (track 8)
  • Al Schmitt – string engineering (track 6)
  • Jon Shrive – recording assistance (track 6)
  • Ivy Skoff – production coordination (tracks 3, 6–9, 12)
  • Davett Singletary – art direction
  • Soulshock & Karlin – arrangement, production (track 11)
  • Randee St. Nicholas – photography
  • Robbes Stieglitz – recording assistance (tracks 2, 3, 6–9, 12)
  • Tim Thomas – backing vocal arrangement (track 4)
  • Michael Thompson – electric guitar (track 4); guitar (track 12)
  • Candy Tookes – A&R coordination
  • Randy Walker – MIDI programming (tracks 2, 3, 6–9, 12)
  • D.L. Warfield – design
  • Bryce Wilson – drum programming, keyboard programming, production (track 2)
  • Shanice Wilson – backing vocals (tracks 1, 4)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[24] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[65] Platinum 50,000*
Belgium (BEA)[66] Platinum 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[17] 7× Platinum 700,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[67] Gold 35,227[67]
France (SNEP)[68] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[69] Platinum 500,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[70] Platinum 200,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[71] 2× Platinum 200,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[25] Gold 7,500^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[72] Platinum 50,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[73] Platinum 100,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[74] Gold 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[75] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[76] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[13] 8× Platinum 6,291,000[A]
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[77] 3× Platinum 3,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Ref.
United States June 18, 1996 [78]
Germany June 24, 1996 BMG [79]
Japan July 10, 1996 [80]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of April 2011, Secrets had sold 5,364,000 copies in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan,[14] which does not count albums sold through clubs like the BMG Music Club, where it sold 927,000 copies.[15] Combined, it has sold over 6,291,000 copies in the US.

References[edit]

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