The Essential Toni Braxton

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The Essential: Toni Braxton / The Best So Far
Greatest hits album by Toni Braxton
Released United States February 20, 2007
Brazil April, 2007
Recorded 1990–2005
Genre R&B
Label LaFace Records
Som Livre (Brazil)
Toni Braxton chronology
Breathe Again: Toni Braxton at Her Best
(2005)Breathe Again: Toni Braxton at Her Best2005
The Essential: Toni Braxton/The Best So Far
Playlist: The Very Best of Toni Braxton
(2008)Playlist: The Very Best of Toni Braxton2008
Alternative cover
Brazilian cover
Brazilian cover

The Essential Toni Braxton is a compilation album by the American recording artist Toni Braxton in Sony BMG's The Essential series. Released in February 2007, it follows the earlier compilations Ultimate Toni Braxton, released in 2003, and Braxton's Platinum & Gold Collection, released in 2004. The Essential is a 2 disc album with thirty-six of Braxton's best songs. It also includes a song done with her sister group The Braxtons, "The Good Life". In Brazil, the album was released under the name The Best So Far with an alternative cover and a different track list.


"The Essential Toni Braxton" became Braxton's second compilation, following 2003's "Ultimate Toni Braxton". The compilation contains 2 discs, with the first containing the majority of her hits, and the second containing non-singles from her previous albums, as well as remixes, collaborations and unreleased tracks. It was released on February 20, 2007 in the United States.[1] In Brazil, the compilation was released with a different name and track list, being titled, "The Best So Far", with 14 tracks, and it was released in April, 2007.[2]


In addition to her previous hits, including "Another Sad Love Song", "Breathe Again", "Un-Break My Heart", "You're Makin' Me High", "He Wasn't Man Enough" and others, the first disc contains "Tell Me", from her 2002 album "More Than a Woman" and "Give U My Heart", a duet with Babyface to the soundtrack of the 1992 film Boomerang. The second disc contains some singles who performed very moderate on charts, such as "Hit the Freeway", many songs from her 1996 album "Secrets", the duet with Il Divo, "The Time of Our Lives", remixes from her remix compilation, "Un-Break My Heart: The Remix Collection", as well as her first single with her sisters, The Braxtons, called "Good Life".[1][3]

The track list for the Brazilian version was composed with the songs from the compilation, with the exception of "Spanish Guitar", that is featured on the regular version, instead of the "Royal Garden" remix present on "The Essential". The singles "I Love Me Some Him" and "Hit the Freeway weren't on the Brazilian edition.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
PopMatters (5/10)[3]

Andy Kellman of Allmusic gave to the compilation a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, writing that the album "amounts to an expanded update of 2003's Ultimate Toni Braxton, nearly doubling the content and digging deeper into the discography of one of the biggest R&B artists of the '90s. With the exception of favoring the R. Kelly remix of "How Many Ways" over the original, this set retains Ultimate's core 15 tracks while wisely choosing to use the studio version of "Seven Whole Days" instead of a live take. [...] Another pleasant surprise, tucked at the very end, is the inclusion of "Good Life," a 1990 single released by Toni and her four sisters as the Braxtons. If you want only the big hits, Ultimate will still do fine, but this set offers a more rounded and representative look back."[1]

Mike Joseph of PopMatters gave the album 5 out of 10 stars, writing that, "It's hard to imagine why this album was even released. [...] and while it's a nice thing to have, it's by no means essential. This compilation contains just about every popular note Braxton ever offered, with a couple of mediocre dance mixes thrown in to add a bit of value to the project. [...] As a single disc containing all the necessary hits, it's the album you should probably bypass this bloated Essential set in favor of."[3]

Chart performance[edit]

"The Essential Toni Braxton" charted on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, peaking at number 48, remaining for two weeks on the chart.[4] The Brazilian version, titled "The Best So Far", was a success in Brazil, reaching a gold status, for selling over 30,000 copies, and later receiving a platinum certification, for selling over 60,000 copies.[5]

Track listings[edit]

The Essential Toni Braxton[1][edit]

Disc one
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" (from Toni Braxton, 1993)
2. "I Love Me Some Him" (from Secrets, 1996) SoulShock & Karlin 5:09
3. "Tell Me" (from More Than a Woman, 2002)
Keri Lewis 4:09
4. "You're Makin' Me High" (from Secrets, 1996)
Babyface, Wilson 4:28
5. "He Wasn't Man Enough" (from The Heat, 2000) Darkchild 4:22
6. "Just Be a Man About It" (from The Heat, 2000)
  • Bishop
  • Braxton
  • Cox
7. "How Many Ways (R. Kelly remix)" (from Toni Braxton, 1993)
Herbert 5:47
8. "Breathe Again" (from Toni Braxton, 1993) Babyface
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Simmons
9. "You Mean the World to Me" (from Toni Braxton, 1993)
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Simmons
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Simmons
10. "I Belong to You" (from Toni Braxton, 1993)
  • Vassal Benford
  • Ronald Spearman
Benford 3:54
11. "How Could an Angel Break My Heart" (from Secrets, 1996)
  • Babyface
  • Braxton
Babyface 4:21
12. "Un-Break My Heart" (from Secrets, 1996) Diane Warren David Foster 4:31
13. "Another Sad Love Song" (from Toni Braxton, 1993)
  • Babyface
  • Simmons
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Simmons
14. "Seven Whole Days" (from Toni Braxton, 1993)
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Simmons
15. "I Don't Want To" (from Secrets, 1996) R. Kelly Kelly 4:17
16. "Give U My Heart" (duet with Babyface) (from Boomerang Original Soundtrack, 1992)
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Simmons
  • Watson
  • Babyface
  • Reid
  • Simmons
Disc two
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Heat" (from The Heat, 2000)
  • Braxton
  • Lewis
2. "Gimme Some" (featuring Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC) (from The Heat, 2000)
  • Babyface
  • Pha
3. "There's No Me Without You" (from Secrets, 1996) Babyface Babyface 4:20
4. "Why Should I Care" (from Secrets, 1996) Babyface Babyface 4:26
5. "Spanish Guitar (Royal Garden Flamenco Remix)" (from Spanish Guitar, 2000) Warren Royal Garden 4:36
6. "I'm Still Breathing" (from The Heat, 2000) Warren Foster 4:16
7. "Me & My Boyfriend" (from More Than a Woman, 2002)
8. "Give It Back" (featuring Big Tymers) (from More Than a Woman, 2002)
Mannie Fresh 3:39
9. "The Time of Our Lives" (duet with Il Divo) (from Libra, 2005 and Voices from the FIFA World Cup, 2006) Jörgen Elofsson Steve Mac 3:18
10. "He Wasn't Man Enough (Junior Vasquez Marathon Remix)" (from Un-Break My Heart: The Remix Collection, 2005)
  • Daniels
  • Jerkins III
  • "Darkchild"
  • Mason, Jr.
Junior Vasquez 3:45
11. "Un-Break My Heart (Frankie Knuckles' Franktidrama club remix)" (from Un-Break My Heart: The Remix Collection, 2005) Warren Frankie Knuckles 8:28
12. "Hit the Freeway" (featuring Loon) (from More Than a Woman, 2002) The Neptunes 3:48
13. "Come On Over Here" (from Secrets, 1996)
  • Reid
  • Rich
14. "Let It Flow" (from Secrets, 1996) Babyface Babyface 4:23
15. "The Little Things" (from Ultimate Toni Braxton, 2003) R. Kelly R. Kelly 4:32
16. "Good Life" (performed by The Braxtons) (previous unreleased, 1990)
  • Ernesto Phillips
  • Felix Weber
Klarmann/Weber 4:16


Country Peak
Certification Sales
U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart[4] 48 Not Certified 20,000
Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos[5] Platinum 60,000