My over all thoughts on Brandy’s “Never Say Never album:” I’m putting my over-all thoughts on this album first because I love using this particular format. So first of all, this album came out when I was a kid; but said album has always been one of my favorite albums ever. Its instrumentation from start to finish, combined with Brandy’s playful nature, combined with this uniqueness that Brandy has where she’s able to sing through her falsetto, combined with Brandy’s harmonies with herself, these particular qualities make for an amazing album. But also, this albums songs are all relatable, no matter what chronological age you are. But yet another thing, is that the album cover as I remember it, was pretty. If my memory serves correctly, the album cover is a side profile of Brandy’s face, with her dark straight hair down. And also, the title “Never Say Never” in itself, brings a smile to my face because that’s honestly a great message to put out into the world. Because none of us ever knows what our lives will be like…and it’s great to have this album as a reminder to ourselves to not be closed off to new experiences.
Track #1 “Intro:” this intro is less than a minute long but it’s a great way to start off the album nonetheless. It’s Brandy harmonizing with herself, while she’s repeating the phrase “never say never.” And that’s quite powerful for the reasons that I’ve already listed above. But mostly, I love how this intro starts off quietly, with just some slight keyboard sounds…and then the drums come in at the exact right moment.
Track #2 “Angel in Disguise:” this song is about a guy who’s cheating, but who it seems, wants Brandy to think he’s being faithful to her. I think my favorite part of this entire song, is the one in which Brandy is harmonizing with herself and the music is made to sound like water droplets. And I think that’s perfect because Brandy is singing about her tears and the rain. But also, there’s a spoken part in the song where Brandy is reflecting which I think is sexy as fuck. But personally, this song was one of the songs I’d play whenever someone broke my heart, whether it was in a romantic way or another way entirely.
Track #3: “The Boy Is Mine:” this song features the R&B singer Monica and I love how she (Monica) and Brandy sound together. This song is a playful song, at least to me…but I guess that’s a matter of opinion. I mean, sure Brandy and Monica are singing about a guy that they’re both attracted to…but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the two of them are truly fighting about it. Hell, I remember playing this song repeatedly and pretending like I was fighting over guys with girls that I went to school with. But that was just it: these thoughts of mine were just fleeting thoughts; they weren’t anything I actually wanted to put into actions.
Track #4: “Learn the Hard Way;” this song is playful yet honest; and on a personal level, this was definitely one of the songs I played a lot when a guy I was with broke my heart…or when anyone broke my heart, really. Because the song’s message of ‘sometimes you gotta learn the hard way’ is so true, even though I hate having to do that, at times. LOL.
Track #5: “Almost Doesn’t Count:” this song was definitely one of the most popular songs on the entire album and Brandy’s harmonies with herself are fucking amazing. I even remember that I had an imported CD that had different remixes of this particular song on it. I’d gotten said CD from one of the music stores I frequented regularly, though I don’t remember which one that was.
Track #6: “Top of the World;” this song features Mase (a well-known rapper). I love the way this song starts out, with nothing but a bass to get people hooked to the song. But my complaint about said bass, is that the bass solo is way too short. Like, I wish that there was an extended version of this song oor some other kinda mix of this song that had more of a bass part. But other than that, I love the message this song has, of saying that just because someone is famous, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have problems just like the rest of us. But also, this song tells people that just because someone is famous, that doesn’t mean that famous folks enjoy every aspect of fame itself. And so, I think this particular song is a great reminder to folks that Brandy is no less human than we are…butt that goes for any famous person though, TBH.
Track #7: “You Don’t Know Me (Like You Used To):” this song has an upbeat tone to it, even though Brandy is talking about a romantic love interest who drifted apart from her. I’ve cried many tears while listening to this and other songs on this album, as I’ve had numerous boyfriends throughout my life that were not right for me, but who I tried to convince myself were right for me, literally every time I’d feel emotionally connected with a guy. And listening to this specific song certainly didn’t help matters, most especially not because I’ve always felt like I should stay in romantic relationships I’m in because I’ll never find someone better than whomever I was with at a given time. But thankfully, I don’t think that way any more. And so, when I listen to this particular song nowadays, I think of this song title and that brings a smile to my face. Because when I think of the fact that I want to find a woman to spend my life with, “Never Say Never” is a great motto to have.
Track #8: “Never Say Never:” this song is definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album of this same title. It talks about how Brandy feels surprised when she catches the attention of a guy she could potentially be interested in being with romantically. And as an insecure person myself, when this particular song came out, I could totally relate to its message. But yet another way in which I could relate to this song, was in terms of how I’d think of the words “never say never” as a motto to remind myself that I’d eventually leave my bio mom’s and step-dad’s house for good. And in a way, it was kinda like I was keeping a secret from the two of them…because they had no idea what was going on in my head. Because the words “never say never” were incredibly powerful to me. I really treasured what this song says in its message; and said song brings a smile to my face when I think about it, even now.
Track #9: “Truthfully:” this song is one of the ballads on this album…and I love it. There are times throughout the song when Brandy sings softly yet sensually…and those things melt my heart every time I hear them. But yet there are times in this song when Brandy’s voice sounds powerful and confident. To me, this song showcases Brandy’s vulnerability but also communicates to anyone that she may be romantically interested in, that she wants what she wants…and that she’ll likely get hurt when people take advantage of her seemingly kind/humble nature.
“Track #10: “Have You Ever:” this song was one of the most popular songs on this album, in the eyes of many people; and while I did love the song, I honestly can’t understand why people love it/have loved it so much. As I’ve said here in this review before, though, Brandy’s harmonies with herself and the ability she uses of singing through her falsetto, make this song sound beautiful.
Track #11: “Put That On Everything:” I’d say that this song is another ballad on this album. And much like is the case for the song “Truthfully” above, this song “Put That On Everything” has a mix of vocal structure from Brandy. There are times throughout this song when her voice is soft and sensual, yet there are other instances in this song where her tone is powerful and beautifully flows into what I think the song is supposed to sound like. So, this song is definitely one of my favorite ones on this entire album.
Track #12: “In the Car (Interlude):” Brandy is getting into her car, as this song’s title suggests. And what I think is her car radio, is playing a song that’s her and her brother Ray-J singing over a fun beat. And the person that Brandy gets on the phone with, is a well-known producer named Rodney Jerkins who, if I’m not mistaken, produced this particular interlude. And Brandy and Rodney Jerkins are very playful with each other during this short conversation between the two of them. But also, Jerkins tells Brandy that he’s created another song for this particular album of hers; and fittingly, that song is literally the next track on this album.
Track #13: “Happy;” this song features Rodney Jerkins and is fun and upbeat. But it’s also playful, the way many of the songs on this album are. And not surprisingly, this particular song, as well as many others on this album, give me great feelings. It’s interesting because on this song in particular, I can hear Brandy smile as she’s singing the words in this song. Like, for whatever reason, her smile seems like it’s more pronounced in this song.
Track #14: “One Voice:” if I were to guess what type of song this is, my guess would be that this is a religiously-oriented song. And I’ve come to this conclusion based on the lyrics in this song, combined with the fact that throughout the song there’s a churchy-sounding choir singing with Brandy. But I honestly don’t even need to be able to relate to what this song is saying, to appreciate its beauty. Brandy’s voice in this song is sometimes soft and at other times, her voice in this song is quite powerful. And TBH, Brandy’s voice does something to me that’s hard to explain; like, it physically gives my body chills. But also, it’s so moving that it nearly brings me to tears, whether it’s the song “One Voice” that she’s singing or something else.
Track #15: “Tomorrow:” this song is hands-down my favorite song on this album…and probably my favorite song EVER of Brandy’s. And just so my blind friends are aware, I typed the word “ever” in all caps, as a way to help emphasize what this song means to me. So oddly enough, growing up, I could relate to this song in terms of how it hit me about like, every breakup with a guy I’d ever had. But as I’ve also said a lot within this album review, Brandy’s vocals in this particular song are lovely. The song’s instrumentation is also amazing. But interestingly, as I’ve grown and changed, how I feel about this song has also evolved into new and exciting things. But I don’t mean to say that my love for this song has lessened over the years; but rather, it means something different nowadays than it did even just a few years ago. And what I mean by that, is that up until I left Texas for good, this particular song had helped me through every single breakup of a romantic relationship that I’d had. But then, as I was taking a train from San Antonio Texas to my new home in a liberal-leaning state, this song became something entirely different to and for me. And what it’s become for me, is a big part of my truth…which is that cutting ties with the woman who gave birth to me/with both sides of my family of origin, was the best thing I’ve ever done. Put another way, leaving all of the toxic relationships I’d had with these folks behind, was the moment I stopped saying “yes” to the abuse…and when I started saying “yes” to myself. And so, every time I think of or listen to the song “Tomorrow” by Brandy, it makes me think of my bio mom; more specifically, I think of the fact that I’m one hell of a woman, to have carried myself through the amount of trauma that I have and to feel like I’m a good person, when much of my life I was made to think otherwise.
Track #16: “Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” this song was originally sung by Bryan Adams (who’s a well-known soft rock singer). And honestly, growing up, I thought that the message this song showed of romanticizing monogamy as being the only valid kinda relationship in the world, was a good message. But to be fair, this song came out in the 90s or even earlier than that…so it wasn’t until I’d gotten older, that I questioned why I’d even thought that way. And the reason I felt this way as I got older, was because I realized that the message within this song of loving someone so much that you’d literally give up your life for them, made my stomach do all kinds of twists and turns. But even so, when I heard Brandy’s version of this song on her “Never Say Never” album, I loved everything about it, except its message, as I’d said above. I think it’s incredibly toxic that society even tells people that thinking such a thing is OK. Because truthfully, I’m all about love, and loving openly. I think true love can be great; but what I don’t like about this toxic message, is that it gives people the idea that if they never find true love, that that’s because they weren’t worthy of true love for some reason. But this song also tells people that them not finding a romantic partner to be with for life, means that their life has no meaning whatsoever. And that certainly isn’t what people should hear, from anyone, ever.