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That Grape Juice A&R: Brandy’s Seventh Studio Album

Published: Friday 18th Jul 2014 by David

Brandy-Put-It-Down-that-grape-juice-1jpg

Welcome to the latest edition ‘That Grape Juice A&R‘, the ‘TGJ’ original feature which sees us switch critic for creative and weigh in on the directions of our staple acts.

Who we’ve set our Evan Lipschutz-sized sights on this time? Brandy, the R&B icon who sits atop her genre’s world with a career that’s birthed the ‘Sweetest Sounds’ for two decades now.

However, there’s no denying that recent years have seen commercial success evade the performer, and now- as she begins work on her seventh studio album- we slip on our creative caps to share ideas we’d say would change all of that.

How?

Meet us below…

Using 11 reference tracks pulled from artists from all walks of life, below sits a track list compiled by ourselves that- at least to us- would make the perfect Brandy album.

Taking praise and criticism aimed at her last LP into her consideration and her current positioning in Pop culture into consideration, the “album” below brings with it a sound rooted in R&B but universally appealing enough to give the star a fighting chance of scoring support from a number of radio formats.

Formats, who hold the key to audiences the singer has been unable to reach in recent years. Thus, resulting in sales that sit far beneath her commercial potential.

Ready to give it a spin?

Press play!

brandy-that-grape-juice-2014-18

1. ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’

2. ‘Flatline.’

3. ‘Get it Together’

4. ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’

5. ‘Lil Star’

6. ‘Love is a Losing Game’

7. ‘Unbreak My Heart

8. ‘Little Do You Know’

9. ‘Deeper’

10. ‘Sorry’

11. ‘Marilyn Monroe’

 

Like what you hear?

Weigh in below!

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  1. christinastherealtalent July 18, 2014

    Brandy just needs to stick to her R&B roots. Give me a Never Say Never/Full Moon esque album.

    • blackcloud6 July 18, 2014

      yea because sticking to the rnb roots really helped her thus far

    • ThinkPINK July 18, 2014

      Doing that has never worked for her because she always makes bland type of R&B.

      • Knowles Carter July 19, 2014

        There is nothing bland about her music….

      • Mrs_Music July 19, 2014

        Huh? -_-

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  2. Stephy July 18, 2014

    She was on my television screen just a few minutes ago! I love her MOESHA show!

  3. blackcloud6 July 18, 2014

    hang it up bran! monica just gon outsell you again wit her album!

    • Kelsie July 18, 2014

      Girl, when the f*** has Monica done that? Never! Do your homework. Brandy has always seen MORE commercial success than Monica. Music, TV, film and endorsements.

      • blackcloud6 July 18, 2014

        Monica’s last 2 albums outsold Brandy’s last 2!! do ur homework!!

        Still standing>>>>>Human
        New Life>>2/11

      • credits July 18, 2014

        and don’t forget that “After the Storm” outsold “afrodisiac” too. I’m a die hard Brandy fan but facts are facts.

    • RoyalKev July 19, 2014

      Well since we’re going there, let’s point out the facts properly. I don’t understand why people compare random albums by artists instead of pairing them up in the sequence that the albums came out in (it’s all practically released around the same time anyway).

      First Albums: Brandy(1994) >>> Miss Thang(1995)
      2nd: Never Say Never(1998) >>>> The Boy Is Mine(1998)
      3rd: Full Moon(2002)>>>>> After the Storm(2003)
      4th: Afrodisiac(2004)>>> The Makings of Me(2006)
      5th Human(2008) <<<>>> New Life(2012)

      ^ This is actually how it lines up!

      • Bentley July 19, 2014

        New Life and 211 both sold 200k. Still standing outsold human

      • MarMsq July 19, 2014

        Still Standing was before New Life!!!

      • Rih Rih July 19, 2014

        Did you forget “Still Standing” 2010 which out sold human..of course you did..goon.

      • GLENDA July 19, 2014

        BRANDY – 4x PLATINUM
        NEVER SAY NEVER – 5X PLATINUM
        FULL MOON – 1.3x PLATINUM
        AFRODISIAC – 500K
        HUMAN – 220K
        TWO ELEVEN – 195K

        MISS THANG – 2X PLATINUM
        THE BOY IS MINE – 3X PLATINUM
        AFTER THE STORM – 1X PLATINUM
        THE MAKINGS OF ME – 300K
        STILL STANDING – 500K
        NEW LIFE – 195K

        NOT INCLUDING WW SALES (NSN WENT 15X PLAT)

      • Royalkev July 20, 2014

        Oops, sorry that was an oversight. I wasn’t trying to skip that Monica album.

        2008 Human <<<<>>>>> New Life (where are they even?)

    • Royalkev July 20, 2014

      I really don’t understand why my comments keep coming out like that (with arrows going both ways). What I’m saying is that Monica’s Still Standing outsold Human. Bran’s Two Eleven outsold New Life.

  4. JFB July 18, 2014

    Brandy is 1 of those artist that you really root for and once her album drops NO ONE buys it. Kinda like Kelly Rowland. When it comes to R&B albums im really looking forward to new Monica and Brandy material but NO ONE ever buys it so why are yall even carrying on.

    • SoGone4Monica July 18, 2014

      The difference is that Brandy tries and Kelly doesn’t. Brandy doesn’t sell because she doesn’t have the money to make sure her music gets played on radio all the time etc. Kelly doesn’t sell because she can’t even bothered to promote until the week of release.

  5. Nope July 18, 2014

    I love how TGJ stans for Brandy and then has the nerve to call other artists flops. LOL x 10

    • Me.I Am Brandy’s Biggest Fan July 18, 2014

      You can Lol all you want but TGJ stans for talent which is why you’re probably confused.

      • IStanForYourFav July 18, 2014

        Most of the flops he calls out have talent though.

  6. Navy Nick July 18, 2014

    Very album Brandy has made, has been art! Beautiful, love her!

  7. Ajm265 July 18, 2014

    To be honest Monica and brandy did just as well as the other r&b girls if u look at it the problem is they came out at the beginning of the R&B decline. So had they put in as much as KMichelle and Tamar they would’ve have faired better. Their record labels pulled the plug on new life and 211 to quickly

    • Lana Tropicana July 18, 2014

      I don’t agree honey. K Michelle and Tamar had good solid albums with good solid singles and solid money behind it. Brandy and Monica make albums that have good singles but aren’t really that interesting to listen to which is why they don’t really do well.

      • credits July 18, 2014

        K Michelle and Tamar both had reality shows with high ratings to help push their brand. When Monica’s reality show ‘still standing’ was on Bet, she sold more than Tamar and k michelle with 180,000 copies in her first week.

      • Ajm265 July 19, 2014

        Brandy and monica had 2 solo singles from their last album while k Michelle releasing everything she can and to be honest she hadn’t sold that much. Tamar had a bigger opening week but she still fizzled out after 3 singles. Moral of the story is that RCA pulled the plug in monica and brandy too quick.

  8. Kelsie July 18, 2014

    Brandy needs better backing (heavy promo) and consistency. The problem has NEVER been her talent or music. She endures in that area however, it seems as though her management team doesn’t put in the “effort”. Her next era, that should be the main focus. There needs to be a plethora of creative ideas as far as promo goes. Something other than your GMA’s, Kelly & Michael’s, Wendy Williams, etc.

    • WildestDreamer July 18, 2014

      So true.

    • asipofbrandy July 19, 2014

      I agree and I love my fave but that management (Ryan Ramsey) needs to step a side because he’s taken B as far as he can. I need Sonja to take the wheel again cause she had B everywhere.

  9. Dustin July 18, 2014

    Why painstakingly mull over A&R for an established artist that’s nearly impossible to market? She’s a pr and marketin nightmare since the accident. She’s too corny to sell high octane urban cuts like put it down and she’s not particularly believable with the schmaltzy ballads anymore. She’s never going to be a top priority at a major label so I say keep costs low by working in a modest studio with 1 (no more than 2) mid level producers to keep costs down and allocate to other areas in the budget. Maybe Chuck Harmony? Anyone but Darkchild really.

  10. Mimi carey July 18, 2014

    Ain’t nothing wrong with her music she’s just no longer commercially viable. Full Moon is one of my favorite albums of all time

  11. Molly July 18, 2014

    She’s so ugly with her overrated ass voice.

    • IStanForYourFav July 18, 2014

      LMAO Molly you’ve been mean as of lately. Everythingo.k.?

    • Truth teller July 18, 2014

      Molly girl…you ain’t never lied!

    • kenny July 18, 2014

      My words exactly!

  12. MUSICHEAD July 18, 2014

    At this point in the game, Brandy needs to do something innovative. I don’t want to hear another Never Say Never or Two Eleven. Both albums are classic but we’ve been there done that. Here’s what she should/could do:

    1. Release a double album: One disc would be pop/dance/rock similar to Drum Life and Magic type of songs. The other disc would be soul r&b with live instrumentation and plenty of SANGING! Give everybody something they like.

    2. Release a covers album: There are so many songs I hear from the 90’s that Brandy would do more than justice to. Some examples are Blackstreet’s “Joy”, Karyn White’s “Love Saw It”, Whitney Houston’s “I Believe In You and Me”. These songs already have a winning formula. Just add Brandy’s vocals and you have magic!

    3. Release a B-Sides album: Brandy has so many songs from her previous albums that should have been singles. She should re-record them with an updated sound and serve out those singles. Some examples are “Nothing”, “Say You Will”, “All In Me”, “True”, “No Such Thing As Too Late”.

    4. Give us that Gospel album: Many of us (especially me) have been waiting for a gospel album from Bran. Let’s make it happen!

    5. In addition to one of the above, give us a Christmas album. Enough said!

  13. Mark111 July 18, 2014

    Wanna help Brandy? BUY HER RECORDS! #ReRun

  14. Fineasslou July 18, 2014

    But who asked you? You work in journalism not a&r. Get a life

  15. IStanForYourFav July 18, 2014

    What Brandy needs to do is stop music unless it is plugged into soundtracks for movies or shows. If her Idol is really Whitney why hasn’t she taken full advantage of the formula like Whitney did. Check it out, Whitney made three albums and then played a major part on the top selling soundtrack of all time. After this she played a part of two more soundtracks and had the world waiting for an album. She then transitioned into a 13 mil WW album and tour. I may not be a fan, but the obvious is there. Never Say Neversold she was on Moesha, America’s Sweetheart,Whitney’s baby, and an album to back it up. She should repeat with the correct promo trail and campaign. She needs to STOP TRYING to be s***, because s*** she is not and brand herself as a music &movie star. Her image is DESTROYED no matter how many “sweet” & obvious media trained interviews she gives, but so isn’t Alicia Keys and she still went gold, so I don’t see why she can’t go gold too. Just my two cents.

  16. Antonio July 18, 2014

    Brandy’s problem has never been the music because all 6 of her albums have been critically acclaimed and at least 3 are regarded as classics. Her album has been, well since 2004… Strong singles and consistent promo/marketing, especially with Two Eleven. Two Eleven was originally scheduled for release in March, May, August then finally we got it in October and without a major hit single to precede it’s release, still sold 66k the 1st wk off a rushed promo campaign that went to mostly Urban outlets so had the album never been pushed back, had a strong lead single and consistent promo, she would’ve pulled Tamar’s numbers. Songs like Without You, Hardly Breathing, No Such Thing, Let Me Go and Scares of Beautiful were pure R&B but commercial enough to receive strong airplay and moderate sales (similar to Body Party). Brandy could’ve had at least 3 Top 40 singles on the Hot 100 with Without You, No Such Thing and Let Me Go and headlined a mid sized venue international tour because surprisingly Two Eleven did moderately well in a few Asian and European markets. So with album 7, she needs to focus on having a current sound that also blends her signature sound into something that’ll appeal to her die hard fans and the general public and PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE. If the album is being released in let’s say June of 2015, Brandy needs to be on high, mid and low rated magazines, radio stations and talk shows interviewing and performing in March, April and May that way by June, she has built up a lot of hype for the album. Release an midtempo as the lead single for the spring, uptempo as the 2nd for the summer, midtempo ballad as the 3rd for the fall and a smooth urban/pop ballad as the 4th and final single for the winter. Get booked for the all the spring/summer concerts and festivals both in the US and overseas to boost regional sales as well. Brandy isn’t done, she still has a lot of potential. She’s only 35, that’s no where near old and she can still push out at least 2 commercially successful albums

    • janet1814 July 19, 2014

      THIS!

  17. B**** I Can’t Even Spell Welfare July 18, 2014

    I think a little perceptive is important for a post like this. Beyoncé’s BEYONCÉ has only only sold 2 million in the states, 3 million WW. This is a critically acclaimed album that will win every category its nominated in at this upcoming Grammys. Only 2 million in the states.

    Look, Brandy’s Mega sales years are over. “Never Say Never,” her biggest seller ever back in 1998, sold 4.6 in the US, 16 million WW. This is never happening again.

    “Two Eleven” is a brilliant album. Artistically, she could not have done any better. It has nothing to do with her artistic output (see her newly universally praised cover of “Magic”). This is about a different climate for music. Brandy has had her time. It was a great time. She will continue to have moderate success but no album, regardless of what formula it follows (including the one outlined above) will change Brandy’s sales fate.

    Brandy is one of the few artists where fans actually have to debate which album is the best. ALL of her albums are good. This is a rarity, especially in today’s market. She will always be known for quality. I will always be a fan.

  18. credits July 18, 2014

    i said this before and i will say it again, her team needs to take advantage of the platform she has been given on BET’s ‘The Game.’ The young fans watching that show are not even aware that Brandy is still recording and putting out albums. She did show off her vocals a bit in the last season so that was a good start. They need to feature her music on an episode, and then at the end of the episode, there should be a message saying “the music featured on tonights episode was by brandy, buy on it itunes now….” or The Game should put out a soundtrack and have brandy all over it. The people love Chardonney lol. As for the material on the album, she really hit a spot with me during her human era with all of the unreleased music. she needs to go there again.

  19. asipofbrandy July 19, 2014

    Brandy needs to let Ryan Ramsey go as her manager cousin or not! B needs to bring her mombavk or get someone like Johnny Wright cause he beasted Justin Timberlake’s comeback 20/20 album.

  20. Free Spirit July 19, 2014

    Brandy just needs to promote her album a lot more harder than just like she did with The Game and gave up on Two Eleven just like Kelly Rowland gave up on Talk A Good Game (Which was her best work of album ever!!!)… Brandy just need some Pop melodies along with a Soulful R&B sound… And none of those songs chosen need to be anywhere near Brandy, even though I like Elle Varner… Brandy just need a more universal sound, something for everybody like she did with Coldplay’s Magic!!!

  21. Beymi Canter July 19, 2014

    If Brandy can find a way to mend her relationship with darkchild she could be back on top.

  22. #TeamTinashe Stan (BUY “2 On”) July 19, 2014

    LMAO! TGJ has the nerves to give Ciara’s “Sorry” song as a directional suggestion for Brandy’ songs on her new album. Y’all really don’t want Brandy to win now lol. SMH.

    In all honesty, I like Brandy but never really was stunned by anything until she did something different when she came out with that song with Chris Brown. It was different. Perhaps doing more Hip Hop collaborations, maybe a Drake, Big Sean, etc collab. Drake can get her a #1 though.

    P.s Mila J’s voice reminds me of Brandy’s a little bit she has that same raspy vocals.

    Anyways, Brandy’s direction should be going in this kind of direction:
    http://youtu.be/SOB2F4skFIw

  23. PopCultureJunkie July 19, 2014

    2/11 was an introduction to Brandy making her in way back in the industry. Since then Brandy has been every where. She started acting again. She has appearances on TV land the Soul Man,has been on many talk shows and has been performing lately. Brandy is also walking other projects like collaborating with this s EDM DJ name Mystery Skulls, has been walking on her own album, and also working on trying to her own sitcom. If you wouldn’t have your head so far up Beyonce’s ass you would know what’s going on with other black female artists.

  24. RoyalKev July 19, 2014

    Smh! Some people on here are really mad at people’s careers (Molly) and probably their sad lives! No amount of hate will change the fact that Brandy slayed the 90’s and has awards, receipts and influence to back it up.

    I agree with a lot of comments above! Bran’s music is pretty solid, there’s not much work to do there. I think it would be an interesting time for a Brandy/Drakchild reunion. It would have to pick up where Full Moon left off. Brandy would benefit most from having a well rounded, universal sound(with an R&B core). Bran should definitely keep it contemporary. Songs that basically go from ‘What About Us’ to ‘Wow’ will do. Tie in film/television projects and promote with one target date in mind (no push backs). It’s about time for Brandy to be featured in specials celebrating her 20 years in the game.

    • Knowles Carter July 19, 2014

      Didn’t Darkchild do the Human album? He’s stale. I want a more raw/stripped back sound from Brandy where her voice takes precedent over the production

    • Real talk July 19, 2014

      RoyalKev..please STFU. What, know one can have a negative opinion on Brandy without you suggesting they’re being hateful of her career?

    • Royalkev July 19, 2014

      ^B**** plz! Sit on a spike! I’m not thinking about people that don’t like Brandy! My issue is with those that disrespect her and call her ugly. Understand what you’re addressing before assuming s***!

      @Knowles Carter
      Yea, Darkchild did some cuts on Human (but I like “Full Moon Darkchild” better). I personally don’t think he was aiming to give Bran his best material during that era. He was putting more energy into other artists at the time (Janet’s ‘Feedback’ & PCD’s ‘When I Grow Up’ had more edge).

      • Kevin July 19, 2014

        @RoyalKev, don’t you sit on C-cks though, the irony.

    • Royalkev July 20, 2014

      ^ Weak!… and terribly misinformed. Seems like you’re confusing me with yourself, wrong Kevin!

  25. Dossome July 19, 2014

    Brandy should just continue making music.If albums like Afrodisiac,Human and Two Eleven can “flop” (i hate the word) then you know the problem isn’t the music.As a matter of fact,with sales being in the pits lately,she only needs to focus on the quality of her music,something she has done the last 20yrs

  26. Knowles Carter July 19, 2014

    I love all of her albums! She has an album for every mood! However I will say that I’m ready for a more raw sound from
    Her similar to “without you” and “magic”

  27. doubline47 July 19, 2014

    Brandy problem is not her music! is her delivery,her videos,and her look(not that I’m saying she’s ugly becos she is actually a very beautiful girl) but she need to change her hair colour or do something very new and S***

    • Real talk July 19, 2014

      Girl just say it..the girl is ugly, and her fans stay hyping her whispery Nasel no vocal range, last three flop albums a**, up.

  28. YoursGrande111 July 19, 2014

    She’s annoying I like her human album tho one of the best r&b from the last 00s

  29. CATFISH CAREY July 19, 2014

    SOME OF YALL TEADY NEED TO TAKE IT EASY
    WITH EM LONG ASS ESSAYS

  30. knock on norwood July 19, 2014

    A lot of yall don’t even buy her music yet think you know what kind of music she should be making? Do you really expect people to take some of you seriously? Some of yall need to have a damn seat.

  31. knock on norwood July 19, 2014

    It’s always a few grossly
    Uninformed folks who comment in
    Places like this who think they
    Have Brandy all figured out. Probably
    Haven’t heard a full Brandy album since
    Full moon in 2002, or can only name a
    Few singles. Like, get familiar before
    You make uneducated assumptions.

  32. Brian310 July 19, 2014

    It’s obvious after the praise that Magic got she should release singles that are universal like that and on the album as a whole shoud have some urban cuts like Kellys Talk a Good Game(LP), and alternative R&B Dawns mixtapes and the Weekends work.

  33. DD July 19, 2014

    Brandy’s most popular albums were always R&B but with a major pop sensibility. She’s dropped the pop hooks and focused more on the R&B beats. I think she could really soar again if she mixed pop/R&B and rock. My personal favorite album of hers is Afrodisiac, because her singing was on point and she was telling fully developed stories. So I would love an album of pop hooks, R&B grooves, a rock edge telling universal (and specific) stories. I love Brandy.

  34. Del July 19, 2014

    Whatever She chooses to do I am sure it will will be everything. yes Aphrodisiac, Human, and Two Eleven, were her lowest selling albums however the content and vocal delivery on them were under-appreciated The industry has become a popularity contest because her music has never been terrible. Every album in my opinion has been virtuously musically inclined.

  35. King July 19, 2014

    I find absolutely no faults with the music, Brandy really knows how to put together a cohesive album and I applaud that because so many people nowadays don’t know how to. For a musical direction, I would love a more stripped back sound. More live instrumentation, which is something she hasn’t played around with before. I would also love for her vocals to take center stage and for her to step outside of the typical R&B writers camp and work with people like Emeli Sande or Chris Martin. Brandy needs to focus on finding a team that is 200% behind her and wants to see her win. No more putting out two singles from the album and then leaving it to collect dust. I loved that she did so many gigs for 2/11 all around the world but people will never know the greatness of that album because she only released two singles and those songs were nowhere near the best songs on the CD. And she’s been doing the same thing since Afrodisiac, just two singles and that’s it. She needs to come with it but I honestly think she’s on the right track.

  36. The Bajan Princess July 19, 2014

    Two Eleven was a cool album but it wasn’t her best. Full Moon will forever be her best because of the experimental beats, vocals and signature harmonies. I want more songs like “Sweet Nothings” with stacked angelic harmonies!!

    • janet1814 July 19, 2014

      Sweet nothings is my ISH!

  37. janet1814 July 19, 2014

    Two Eleven is a solid album and one of Brandy’s most cohesive to date. For me, the less than desirable performance can be partly attributed to several factors; push backs, dated/bland album look and poor single choices. Lets be honest – Put It Down is one of the weaker tracks on the album and was only chosen as lead single because of the Chris Brown feature.

    They should’ve stuck to a Summer release, with Let It Go as the lead, followed by Slower and closing the era with Without You which has the raw, universal sound that works for Brandy so well.

    This would’ve brought us to Winter 2012, and at that time she could have released the deluxe edition and sent What You Need out to urban outlets. That song was BANGING and everyone I played it for loved it! It could have created a renewed interest in the project and encouraged people who hadn’t purchased to album and liked the preceding singles to go and buy the deluxe version.

  38. X July 20, 2014

    I don’t want any of these songs for her. Glad y’all aren’t on her team tbh. Xoxo

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