Album review

Toni Braxton, ‘Pulse’

May 3, 2010

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

  • E-mail|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

Toni Braxton, ‘Pulse’
ESSENTIAL “Make My Heart’’

The veteran singer makes a sharp return to form after a five-year recording hiatus. Toni Braxton and her star producers and songwriters mix old-school R&B balladry and modern dance pop while always keeping that luxurious voice as the focus. The first single, “Yesterday,’’ did not do well earlier this year, and because many of the songs on the original version of the disc had leaked, Braxton went in and recorded some new tracks. They clearly banged out some good songs at a brisk pace. There seems to be a real determination to update her sound, and the propulsive dance-pop of “Lookin’ at Me’’ and the cheeky “Wardrobe’’ are confident and sleek. A cover of “Woman’’ and the understated “Why Won’t You Love Me’’ are fine ballads that avoid the bloated grandiosity that has marred some of Braxton’s previous work. The 43-year-old can still power those songs home, but the best tracks are the uptempo ones that make her seem thoroughly contemporary. Any time a pop star goes on “Dancing With the Stars,’’ as Braxton did in 2008, you think her career has flatlined. Clearly, this set is designed to show, and does indeed prove, that the singer has a pulse. (Out tomorrow) -- KEN CAPOBIANCO