Braxton Family Singles - #15: Been there, done that, got the T-shirt | Page 35 | The Popjustice Forum

Braxton Family Singles - #15: Been there, done that, got the T-shirt

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by londonrain, Feb 24, 2020.


Which of these rates should I run next?

  1. 1994-2011 Grammy nominees for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance

  2. Destiny's Child solo singles (Kelly/LeToya/LaTavia/Michelle/Farrah)

  3. En Vogue singles rate

  4. Monica singles rate

  5. Whitney Houston singles rate

  1. Oop, I must have been feeling ruthless, it doesn't sound like a 5 now but I did feel like it dragged a bit.
  2. Should have made the Top 30.
    vague, RainOnFire and londonrain like this.
  3. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    Weirdly, given my usual aversion for songs that go on beyond five minutes in length, I don’t actually feel the length here.
  4. Do you ever?
    vague and berserkboi like this.
  5. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    I’ll let my ex know you complimented him xx
    vague and Holly Something like this.
  6. I never noticed the length of the song. I like the "ah" sound she makes after "seven whole nights".
  7. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    It reminds me of the “ah” after “I deserve some damn respect” in the Honeyz’ End of the Line - see 2:00 onwards below:

    (This is a good thing.)
    Epic Chocolat and vague like this.
  8. Flashback to you slaying that line at drunken 1am karaoke.
    vague and londonrain like this.
  9. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    Anyone not doing the “ah” is DOING IT WRONG.
  10. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    Time for a song that sounds very unlike anything else in this rate...

    ...but a lot like a certain song that was in another R&B rate recently.


    32. Take This Ring

    Toni: #27 of 46

    Average: 7.561
    Highest scores: 10 x 1 (@A&E), 9 x 4 (@pop3blow2, @Maria, @Trouble in Paradise, @Music Is Life)
    Lowest scores: 3 x 1 (@Daniel_O), 4 x 1 (@ComeOnGloria)
    My score: 8.5

    6 ballots: #33
    12 ballots: #42
    18 ballots: #30
    24 ballots: #31
    27 ballots: #32

    Well, one thing you can say about that trajectory is that it's certainly (mostly) consistent. I'm a bit sad to see this miss the top 30, as it's an absolute banger, but obviously that wasn't enough to elevate most people's scores to a 10 (including mine dddd). @Butterfly managed to ensure that this wouldn't tie with Seven Whole Days by giving it the very specific score of 7.85. If she'd given it a 7.8 - as @berserkboi did - then the two songs would have tied.

    The recording of Libra was fraught, to say the least. Barry Hankerson, Toni's manager, had convinced her to leave Arista after the commercial failure of 2002's More Than A Woman - an album that she describes as "the worst album I've done. Ever. It's like that one-night stand you just don't want to talk about." She felt that her own input into More Than A Woman had been limited and that the recording process having been marred by conflicts between Barry and LA Reid, with both of them trying to change up Toni's musical style to make her more upbeat and hip-hop. After Toni signed to Barry's label, Blackground Records, there was tension between him and Toni over the fact that she insisted on getting a new manager. Toni's husband, Keri Lewis, who had had a hand in The Heat, Snowflakes and More Than A Woman, returned as a producer and songwriter for Libra, but Blackground's US distributor and international partners weren't happy with the ballad-heavy first draft of the record, which was done entirely by Toni and Keri, and pushed for a sound that reflected more current trends at the time. As Toni put it at the time:
    Toni does say that she enjoyed working on Libra, and was allowed to pick the songs in a way she wasn't for More Than A Woman, but she also said at the time that it was a balance: "I had to put artistry on the back burner on some songs and be more commercial on some songs. But I still had to be myself."

    Take This Ring feels like a really good example of this, as it was completely written and produced by Rich Harrison and sounds very much like other Rich Harrison productions of the time, particularly Amerie's Hot 100 top ten hit 1 Thing, which was released earlier that year. Rich had already achieved success by sampling 1970s funk riffs on R&B hits, with the intro to The Chi-Lites' Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) forming the hook for Beyoncé's Crazy In Love, and a clip of The Meters' Oh Calcutta underpinning 1 Thing.

    The Meters were no strangers to being sampled on R&B hits: their 1970 track Handclapping Song was used in Whitney Houston's My Love Is Your Love, while People Say, from 1974, was used in Aaliyah's Are You That Somebody. If you believe some of the user-generated sources around the Internet, Rich Harrison lifted from their 1969 track Here Comes The Meter Man for Take This Ring, but this sample is not credited in the liner notes and I'm inclined to think that Rich was trying to recreate that sound rather than directly sample it. (Then again, Take This Ring is noticeably short on credits in the liner notes of Libra, not even listing its background singers when every other song has credits for that.)

    Toni blames a lack of promotion from Blackground and the poor relationship between her and Barry Hankerson for the underperformance of Libra, which debuted at #4 in the US but failed to reach platinum status. Take This Ring, the album's third single, imitated its predecessors in failing to chart on the Hot 100 altogether, but unlike them it also failed to make it to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, stalling at #12 on Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles. Being released less than a year after 1 Thing can't have helped, given how similar the two hooks are, and the failure of Blackground to fund a music video for the song would have further put a dent in its chances of success.

    @Angeleyes (7) spots a familiar voice, who appears in the background all the way through Libra: "Ah yes, when all the R&B divas were working with Rich Harrison after Crazy in Love & 1 Thing broke out. You can really hear Tamar on the chorus here."

    @WowWowWowWow (7) mentions the most obvious similarity: "It's this 1 Ring that's got me trippin'?"

    @Sprockrooster (8) gets his chronology wrong: "One Thing (Amerie) is smart using this brilliant beat."

    @berserkboi (7.8) isn't a fan of the kitchen-sink approach to the instrumentation: "Still sounds a little too cacophonous!"

    @pop3blow2 (9), on the other hand, sees it more positively: "I like this one. It’s different. It’s maybe a little messy, but she kinda has her own things going here."

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
  11. RainOnFire

    RainOnFire Staff Member

    The fact that this is now the seventh song eliminated that I gave a score of 8+ to since we hit the Top 40 (one of those being a 10), but the songs I gave a 3 to are still here.

  12. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    I can't wait to see the reactions when people find out where these 3s landed.

  13. This sounded like my 11 went actually.

    londonrain, vague and berserkboi like this.
  14. Jesus, Rich Harrison really only has one sound.
  15. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    There's a strong case for that - Jennifer Lopez's Get Right, the Pussycat Dolls' I Don't Need A Man, Kelly Rowland's Can't Nobody and Beyoncé's Freakum Dress definitely share a lot of the same DNA - but then again he was also behind these:

    so there is some diversity in there.
  16. And to be fair, his signature sound slapped so why not stick to it?

    1 Thing? That was a classic, that was a classic.
    Get Right? That was a classic, that was a classic.
    I Don't Need A Wig? That was a classic, that was a classic.
  17. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    There was a remix I could (and in theory should) have included in this rate.

    Fortunately, nobody complained that I didn't include it.

    But let's get rid of the "regular" version now.

    31. How Many Ways

    Toni: #26 of 46

    Average: 7.569
    Highest scores: 10 x 1 (@Euphoria), 9.5 x 2 (@RainOnFire, @Oleander)
    Lowest scores: 4 x 1 (@Trouble in Paradise), 5 x 1 (@Sprockrooster)
    My score: 7

    6 ballots: #53
    12 ballots: #48
    18 ballots: #44
    24 ballots: #33
    27 ballots: #31

    Our last song to miss the top 30 is one that climbed steadily through the voting period but missed out by a hair's breadth in another packed section of the rate - if one person had given this 0.2 less, it would have dropped to #33, but if one person had given this 0.3 more it would have tied for #29. With this elimination, @RainOnFire has now lost eight scores of 8 or above in the last ten eliminations, and Toni's debut era is now down to three songs: Another Sad Love Song, Breathe Again and You Mean The World To Me (her three top ten singles from the album). How long can they hold on?

    After three consecutive top ten singles, the double A-side of How Many Ways/I Belong To You, released in June 1994, was a relative disappointment on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #28, although it did manage top ten placements on the dance and R&B charts. How Many Ways - which takes its lyrical inspiration from Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - was written by Toni with Vincent Herbert, who went on to marry Toni's sister Tamar in 2008 and also is credited in some circles as the person who discovered Lady Gaga, having signed her to Interscope Records imprint Streamline Records in 2007.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A remix by R. Kelly was also promoted, with the remix also being overlaid over the song's video to create a second video, and by rights I should have included it alongside the Rollerskate Radio Mix of I Belong To You as an alternate mix to rate... but I didn't because (1) it's only slightly different, with a slightly souped-up beat and an annoying rap in the background, and (2) we do not need a track with the words "R. Kelly Remix" in its title included in a rate in 2020.

    The video for the song is cute, with plenty of shots of actor Shemar Moore, who plays Toni's love interest. Shemar had just begun his role on The Young and the Restless in what became a regular role as Malcolm Winters, originally running for eight years and then returning for several further stints, alongside a number of other film and TV roles, including the role of Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds, which he played for eleven seasons as a regular and a further two years as a guest star. Nowadays he's probably better known as the voice of Cyborg in the Justice League films.


    When Toni first met Shemar, he said "My agent called and asked me, 'Do you want to be in a Janet Jackson video or a Toni Braxton video?' I go, 'Janet Jackson.' But then I heard that Janet had already picked another guy - so that's how I ended up with you." The two of them ended up briefly dating, meeting up when they were both in the same city over the next few months, but Toni says it was never serious and they're still friends. Toni says that during this period LA Reid was always trying to get her to be seen with a hot celebrity man of the moment to boost her image, which was something she struggled to adjust to - for example, Wesley Snipes once sent her some flowers and she didn't know about it because her publicist hadn't mentioned it to her, but it got out into the press and when she rang Wesley about it, weeks after he'd originally sent the flowers, he was not happy.

    @WowWowWowWow (6) is sassy: "How many ways can I describe my feelings about this song? I only need one: Bored!"

    @Sprockrooster (5) wanted a sex jam and didn't get it: "I am not feeling it. I ain't grabbing no mattress on this track."

    @pop3blow2 (8) probably thinks this is overdue: "Probably my least fave single off this album."

    Finally, @Euphoria (10) will not be happy that this hasn't done better: "Always felt this one was rather underrated. Another one of my Toni favorites. Smooth and sweet."

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  18. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    TOP 30

    Good Life

    The Boss

    Another Sad Love Song
    Breathe Again
    You Mean The World To Me
    I Belong To You (Rollerskate Radio Mix)

    You're Makin' Me High
    Let It Flow
    Un-Break My Heart
    I Love Me Some Him
    You're Makin' Me High (T'empo Mix)
    Un-Break My Heart (Classic Radio Mix)

    He Wasn't Man Enough
    Spanish Guitar
    The Heat
    Spanish Guitar (HQ2 Radio Edit)

    Hit The Freeway

    Trippin' (That's The Way Love Works)

    Make My Heart

    I Heart You

    Hurt You

    Long As I Live
    Coping (Disco Killerz Remix)

    Love and War
    The One
    All The Way Home

    The last nine eliminations have all been Toni Braxton songs, with Slow Flow being the only non-Toni song to have left us since we started counting down the top 40. All of Toni's albums are represented in the top 30, with the exception of Snowflakes, and the Braxtons' sole album is also hanging on, but Tamar is down to just a single album - Love and War - and Trina and Traci are long gone. The one-off singles Good Life and I Heart You are also still hanging around, as are several of Toni's remixes.

    How many albums will we lose before we get to the top 20? I can confirm that they won't all still be in the running in ten eliminations' time... ​
  19. RainOnFire

    RainOnFire Staff Member

  20. londonrain

    londonrain Staff Member

    @Robsolete ha impact.

    The next ten eliminations won't be as bad for you...
    although you'll need to lose at least one of your 10s before we start cutting your 3s.
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