Sex & Cigarettes

Sex & Cigarettes

by Toni BraxtonToni Braxton


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As her 1993 blockbuster debut approached its 25th anniversary, Toni Braxton proceeded to collect accolades while moving forward. Her duets album with Babyface was designated Best R&B Album in 2015 by the Recording Academy -- making her a Grammy winner in three decades -- and the connection with her foundational audience was reaffirmed in 2017 with a Soul Train Legend Award. Her every-few-years release schedule was maintained with this short album, in which she responds to a habitually philandering lover with her distinctive mix of fire and finesse. This has more of the former element than any previous Braxton release. Although the title track is placed second in the sequence, it's really the first scene, or at least the album's basis, an emotionally raw if composed confrontation supported by piano and strings. "I guess you're too cold or too bold to give a fuck," she remarks with a sting. "FOH," one of two Babyface collaborations, is far more explicit, with jealousy and contempt at a boiling point. Only "Missin'," the closing song on the standard edition, deviates from the rough story line, and that's for its lack of sourness; it's built on a light galloping rhythm yet is all about longing, merely one form of emotional engulfment displayed by the singer. There's also a hint of reflective sweetness to "Long as I Live," but the ache is incurable, and the Colbie Caillat collaboration "My Heart" glistens but is otherwise drained. Elsewhere, Braxton alternates between regret and admitting romantic dependency. The productions, typically polished for a Braxton album, are subtly diverse, with "Deadwood" easily adaptable to contemporary country, "Sorry" rooted in classic Southern soul, and "Missin'" verging on tropical pop. Non-standard edition bonus track "Forgiven," a ballad of closure, would make much more sense as this album's finale than it does in its original state, as the backdrop for the credits sequence of Roland Joffé's The Forgiven.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/23/2018
Label: Def Jam
UPC: 0602567314981
catalogNumber: 002795702
Rank: 24740

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Toni Braxton   Primary Artist
Gary Thomas   Strings
Cynthia Harrell   Background Vocals
Earl Harvin   Drums
Michael O'Neill   Soloist
Babyface   Acoustic Guitar,Keyboards
Paul Boutin   Guitar,Percussion
Christopher "Tricky" Stewart   Keyboards
Michael Ripoll   Guitar
Hilary Skewes   Strings
Eric Walls   Electric Guitar
Dapo Torimiro   Keyboards
Ben Epstein   Bass
Pierre Medor   Keyboards
Antonio Dixon   Drums,Keyboards
Fred Ball   Percussion,Keyboards
Walter Barnes   Bass
Kwame Ogoo   Guitar,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Gary Thomas   String Arrangements
Toni Braxton   Composer,Executive Producer,Vocal Engineer,Vocal Producer
Steve Fitzmaurice   Engineer
Daryl Simmons   Composer
Babyface   Composer,Programming,Producer
Paul Boutin   Composer,Engineer,Vocal Engineer,Vocal Producer,Percussion Engineer
Christopher "Tricky" Stewart   Composer,Producer,drum programming,Vocal Producer
Stuart Crichton   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Dave Gibson   Composer
Ryan Rogers   Art Direction
Dapo Torimiro   Composer,Programming,Producer
Pierre Medor   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Kevin Ross   Composer
Antonio Dixon   Composer,Programming,Producer
Sam Thomas   Engineer
Royce Doherty   Composer
Patrick "J Que" Smith   Composer
Fred Ball   Composer,Producer
Roberto Caiaffa   Marketing
Clarissa Farrán   String Arrangements
James Newman   Composer
Kameron Glasper   Composer
Jeremiah Bethea   Composer
Paul Lane   Package Production
Khristopher Riddick-Tynes   Composer
Kwame Ogoo   Composer
William Lovely   Engineer

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