(washingtonpost.com) Although commercial R&B is deep in the
throes of a love affair with dance-pop, Brandy returns to the sort of
sweet, earnest R&B she put out when she was barely a teenager. There
are a few tracks that work as up-tempo radio singles, including the
fizzy, burbling Chris Brown collaboration “Put It Down,” and the
Bangladesh-produced “Let Me Go,” which samples Swedish singer Lykke Li,
but most of the album is a showcase for Brandy’s powerful, gusty voice.
“Wildest Dreams” is an ode to answered prayers, while “No Such Thing as Too Late” is inspirational balladry at its best. “Without You” is a desperate love song that finds Brandy putting in some of her best vocal work in recent memory. The singer has said one of the reasons she chose to title this album “Two Eleven” is because Feb. 11 is not only her birthday, but the date that marks the death of her friend and mentor, Whitney Houston. The album serves as a fine tribute, in part because it is a testament to the fact that, despite whatever trends are happening in popular music right now, a good voice always shines through.