Picks and Pans Review: Full Moon
She isn't Moesha anymore. At 23, Brandy is grown-up, married (to music producer Robert Smith) and taking no trash on a new album that swaps teen pop-R&B for electronicalaced funk. Last heard in puppy-love mode on her 1998 duet with Monica, "The Boy is Mine," Brandy, this time, is interested in men, but she'd rather kick them to the curb than fight another woman over them. This disc's startling first single, "What About Us?," rips a trifling boyfriend for his misdeeds: "Now what about bills that were past due, paid for you/ And all you said to me is baby, I owe you/ Forget about the brand-new life that I gave you." The radical new outlook of the lyrics is matched by the song's innovative production, which finds an almost unrecognizable Brandy surfing through a cyber-spacey sonic collage.
Unfortunately, the rest of Full Moon can't sustain the bizarre brilliance of "What About Us?" While much of the CD brandishes a similar edge, with electronic wizardry made for headphone listening, it showcases the producing team (longtime collaborator Rodney Jerkins, primarily) more than its singer. Brandy has one of the more distinctive voices around, so it's a shame that she so often gets lost in the beat-heavy mix. On the ballads, at least, Brandy's husky timbre stands out; her sultry, soulful vocals on the jazzy slow jam "He Is" show her maturity as a singer—and as a woman.
Bottom Line: Full Moon, half Brandy