The Heat (Toni Braxton album)

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The Heat
Toni Braxton - The Heat.png
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 25, 2000 (2000-04-25)
Recorded1997–2000
Studio
Genre
Length48:35
LabelLaFace
Producer
Toni Braxton chronology
Secrets
(1996)
The Heat
(2000)
Snowflakes
(2001)
Singles from The Heat
  1. "He Wasn't Man Enough"
    Released: March 7, 2000
  2. "Just Be a Man About It"
    Released: June 20, 2000
  3. "Spanish Guitar"
    Released: September 25, 2000
  4. "Maybe"
    Released: February 6, 2001

The Heat is the third studio album by American singer Toni Braxton. It was released 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 with 199,000 copies sold 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 in the United States. 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[edit]

After the success of her second studio album, Secrets (1996), which spawned Braxton's signature song and biggest commercial success of her career, "Un-Break My Heart", and sold over 15 million copies worldwide,[2] 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.[3] After a year of legal issues, Braxton settled her lawsuit with LaFace Records, with plans to release a new album in May 1999.[4]

In February 1999, Babyface told MTV News, "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."[5] 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.[6]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"The Heat" is built on solid ballads and smoldering, mid-tempo dance numbers, as noted by AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine.[1] 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."[7]

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,[8] has Toni warning a female friend not to marry a man the singer knows all too well[9] and that came back begging for forgiveness.[8] On the title track, "The Heat", co-written by Keri Lewis, was described as "an infectious mid-tempo groove."[7] Lyrically, the song talks about wanting to "get it on" and enjoying coed skinny-dipping.[10] 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".[11] Lyrically, the song has the singer inviting an alluring stranger to play her "through the night" like a "Spanish Guitar."[10] The fourth track "Just Be a Man About It" is a telephone breakup song,[1] with Toni once again questioning the status of a partner's manhood[7] and Dr. Dre playing the wayward lover breaking the news to her,[1] while fifth track, "Gimme Some", features Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and was named "an R&B/summer 'jerky funker' track",[7] with Braxton demanding intercourse and oral sex from a man.[10]

"I'm Still Breathing" is another song written by Diane Warren and talks about a woman stung by a painful breakup who summons strength,[10] while "Fairy Tale", co-written and produced by Babyface, is an "acoustic piece"[9] where the singer implies that being "just friends" may be healthier than a "love affair."[10] Pillow talk and ecstatic moaning characterize "The Art of Love,"[10] a track that features no discernible lyrics,[7] Braxton's sighs and moans[11] over undulating rhythms".[9] On "Speaking in Tongues," a "sensual affair" with warm harmonies,[7] spiritual expressions are co-opted and woven amid passionate propositions including, "Talk dirty to me."[10] 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).[10] The eleventh track "You've Been Wrong" was considered "plodding",[7] 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.[7]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "He Wasn't Man Enough", was released on March 17, 2000, to critical acclaim,[12] and won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.[13] It was also a success on the charts, where it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.[14] Elsewhere, it topped the Canadian Singles Chart, while reaching the top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland[15] and the United Kingdom.[16] The album's second single in the US was the song "Just Be a Man About It". It reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.[14]

Outside of the US, "Spanish Guitar" was released as the album's second single on September 25, 2000 (initially LaFace Records did not release it as a single, due to the promotion of "Just Be a Man About It").[17] It achieved moderate success on the charts around the world, reaching the top 40 in Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland.[18] In the US, 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.[14] The album's final single, "Maybe", achieved minor success on the R&B and dance charts,[14] due to the cancelled racy video.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[9]
PeopleMixed[19]
Plugged InMixed[10]
PopMatters7/10[7]
Q4/5 stars[20]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[11]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[21]

The Heat received a positive reception from most music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic wrote that the album "is a confident, assured, sexy effort that reaffirms Braxton's status as one of the finest contemporary mainstream soul singers."[1] 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."[1]

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."[9] Collin Ross wrote for PopMatters that the album has "a mixed bag", but "despite being largely formulaic, The Heat offers some moments of quality."[7] He also hoped that "Keri Lewis/Braxton collaborative will play a more substantial role on her next album."[7] 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."[11] He also wrote that "Braxton radiates sublimely sensual romance" on the album.[11]

Accolades[edit]

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.[13] Braxton was also nominated for Best R&B/Soul album, Female on the Soul Train Music Awards,[13] but lost to Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1" by Jill Scott. Braxton won two American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Album (The Heat).[13]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Heat debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 199,000 copies in its first week.[22] It debuted at number one on the magazine's Top 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.[23] In its third week, the album fell to number seven with 101,000 copies sold.[24] The Heat was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and as of April 2011, it had sold 2,093,000 copies in the US, according to Nielsen Soundscan.[25]

The album topped the Canadian Albums Chart, while it reached number three on the UK Albums Chart, staying 19 weeks on the latter.[26] The album also reached the top 10 in many countries, such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.[27] As of December 2002, the album had sold four million copies worldwide.[28]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."He Wasn't Man Enough"
  • Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins
  • LaShawn "Big Shiz" Daniels[a]
4:21
2."The Heat"
  • Keri
  • Braxton
3:30
3."Spanish Guitar"Diane WarrenDavid Foster4:47
4."Just Be a Man About It"
4:50
5."Gimme Some" (featuring Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes)
  • Babyface
  • Jazze Pha
  • Braxton[b]
4:03
6."I'm Still Breathing"WarrenFoster4:15
7."Fairy Tale"
Babyface4:22
8."The Art of Love"
  • Braxton
  • Lewis
  • Keri
  • Braxton
3:47
9."Speaking in Tongues"Braxton
  • Keri
  • Braxton
3:46
10."Maybe"
  • Crouch
  • Braxton[b]
3:08
11."You've Been Wrong"
3:45
12."Never Just for a Ring"Simmons4:01
Total length:48:35

Notes

  • ^a signifies a vocal producer
  • ^b signifies a co-producer

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Heat.[29]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[60] Gold 35,000^
Belgium (BEA)[61] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[62] Gold 100,000*
France (SNEP)[63] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[64] Gold 150,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[65] Gold 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[66] Gold 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[67] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[68] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[69] 2× Platinum 2,093,000[25]

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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Track 1
  2. ^ Tracks 2 and 9
  3. ^ Tracks 2, 8 and 9
  4. ^ Tracks 2, 8 and 9
  5. ^ Tracks 3 and 6
  6. ^ Tracks 4 and 11
  7. ^ Tracks 5 and 7
  8. ^ Track 10
  9. ^ Strings on track 10
  10. ^ Track 12

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Levine, Nick (2010-05-03). "Toni Braxton: 'Yesterday'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  3. ^ "Toni Braxton In Contract Dispute". MTV News. August 12, 1998. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
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  6. ^ "A chat with R&B singer Toni Braxton". CNN. January 31, 2000. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ross, Colin. "Toni Braxton: The Heat". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  8. ^ a b Dalton, Stephen (April 1, 2000). "NME Track Reviews - He Wasn't Man Enough". NME. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e Farber, Jim (April 28, 2000). "The Heat Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
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  21. ^ [1]
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  66. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Toni Braxton – The Heat" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter The Heat in the "Artiest of titel" box.
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  69. ^ "American album certifications – Toni Braxton – The Heat". Recording Industry Association of America. October 13, 2000. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.