Brandy

Never Say Never

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Review

Shortly after the release of her eponymous debut in 1995, Brandy became a star. Not only did the album sell well, but she starred on UPN's Moesha and Disney's made-for-TV Cinderella, all before she released her second album, Never Say Never, in 1998. Needless to say, there was much more riding on the second record than the debut and, fortunately, she follows through with Never Say Never, delivering an album that rivals her first. Brandy wisely decides to find a middle ground between Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige -- it's adult contemporary with a slight streetwise edge. As with most adult contemporary albums, the record is bogged down by some filler, but Brandy's delivery has improved and her subdued vocals can make mediocre material sound convincing. Still, what makes Never Say Never a winning record is the quality songs and production. The smooth Monica duet "The Boy Is Mine" and the tripped-out "Top of the World" (which features a rap from Mase) are two examples of what Brandy can achieve when everything's in the right place, and they help make Never Say Never a more adventurous record than her debut. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi