December 31, 2022
Note: This article was originally written in 2020 and was re-edited for clarity.
2020 brought about many changes, and one of the most noticeable changes was the rediscovery of the past. Many people have been rediscovering talents and passions and revisiting moments they have either neglected or pushed to the side based on various pressures and lifestyle shifts. I had made it an unofficial mission to review musical selections and albums that were popular when I was growing up. To provide a brief context of why I am “rediscovering” artists, I’ve had many life changes back to back over the past few years.
For example, I graduated high school, took about two weeks off, and began taking summer college classes. I went through college and graduated. I took another year off and returned to college because of the recession. I graduated again, got married, relocated, worked for a few years in retail, relocated back to where I left, had a baby, went back to college as a career change, divorced, and so on. By now, you get the point.
In addition to all those life changes, I wasn’t allowed to purchase popular music growing up, so whatever was playing on the radio or video music shows was all I knew about the artist. However, I love music so much that I slowly discovered why people enjoyed listening to various albums over the years. And this year, I decided to dig deeper into my Apple Music and Spotify account vault. So, as the inaugural post in this series, I’m beginning with one of my favorite singers, Brandy, and her fourth studio album Afrodisiac. Afrodisiac hit the stores and iTunes on June 28, 2004. It debuted at number three, peaked on the Billboard Charts on July 16, 2004, at number 4, and spent 20 weeks on the chart.
The released singles were Talk About Our Love feat Kanye West, Who is She to U, and the title track, Afrodisiac. Critics received Afrodisiac well, but it did not perform commercially to the success of her previous albums. However, the music industry was going through various shifts and changes after being shaken by what can be considered the grandfather of streaming music and piracy scandals, and so forth. Aside from that, the state and sound of popular music also shifted. But with all that aside, Brandy was and remains one of the most influential artists of her time, and I can assure you it will be beyond. After listening to the album, I was compelled to wonder what would have happened if the record label had selected a different set of songs to release.
First, this album’s musical contributions and production were unlike anything else at the time, with producers such as Timbaland and Kanye West assisting. For all intents and purposes, this album is still everything in 2020. I could easily see several songs succeeding on the airwaves and streaming platforms as new releases, which is just a testament to how timeless Brandy’s music is. The preceding singles should have been selected as releases from the Afrodisiac album.
I Tried: Now. I will preface this by saying I knew about I Tried a few years ago. However, after going back to stream the album, I felt slighted again as a fan. The irony about this song not being released as a single is laughable as it was positioned as the fifth song on the album directly under Talk About Our Love. I did a little reading around and found that it was speculated that this album track was supposed to be released as the fourth single.
It was definitely a missed opportunity. What makes I Tried so special is the musicality of instruments and sound, lyrical references, and Brandy’s signature rasp! My goodness. It’s soulful but teeters on the edge of a rock. And like I mentioned before, her signature rasp and sultry tone on this track are undeniably the ingredients to an international hit.
Where You Wanna Be: I just discovered this song a day ago. Baby, this song blew me away! As I rode around during my lunch break, this track came on, and I instantly hit replay after it went off. Like I Tried, Where You Wanna Be was positioned as track six right after I Tried. The hidden hit singles were right below Talk About Our Love. I could also see Where You Wanna Be being a great Fall/Winter release. It just has that type of vibe to it.
There you have it. These are the songs I would have selected as the second and third releases from Afrodisiac. As an honorable mention, I will even throw in one more option, and that song would be Necessary. This track was unique to the album and featured a unique sound for the time. Unfortunately, we can’t go back and relive the moment in time of the release. Still, we can relive the album’s magic and hope for a possible release of other unreleased or remastered gems in the future. Check out the album on Brandy’s Official YouTube account and all streaming services!
Referenced Articles and Content: https://www.billboard.com/music/brandy/chart-history/BLP/song/456828