Image via RCA
Image via RCA
Brandy has had a wild ride these past few years. Two Eleven is Norwood’s first album coming off of her least successfully commercial album, Human, and her first album since 2008. Additionally, this is the first album since she switched record labels (always a tricky test). The title Two Eleven is a reference Norwood’s birthday and the day her icon and mentor, Whitney Houston, died. Norwood said about the title: “Some of the titles I was working with were Rebirth, Reincarnation, Reinvention, Resurrection […] I just felt like Two Eleven describes all of that. It’s the day I was born, and each year, I evolve and change with time, it also has a whole new meaning to it because I gained my angel. My icon is my angel now. It’s all tied in there and I just think it best represents who I am and the responsibilities I have moving on.” Of content on the album, Brandy points to multiple sources: “The evolution of Brandy is crazy, I’ve gone through some things that I haven’t yet sang about….From the break up with my ex-fiancé, to the struggles since the car accident, and then Human not performing well at all, and then to being cheated out of Dancing with the Stars; it’s like failure after failure after failure……I’m bringing everything I got. Everything I have to this project. I honestly feel like and I’m not trying to get emotional but I really feel like this is my last chance…This is time away from my daughter.” (quotes aggregated via Wikipedia). Norwood had the chance to collaborate with white-hot Frank Ocean, and mega-producer Timbaland. Unfortunately, the tracks that came from the Timbaland sessions were ultimately cut from the album (and hopefully will be included on the follow up).
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Track Spotlight: “Wildest Dreams” is a real return to form for Norwood. It’s catchy, and her vocals kill. More than that, she lays it all on the line, expressing her desires to be loved for herself, for being just Brandy.