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Album Review | R&B

Brandy, ‘Two Eleven’

Now nearly two decades into her career, Brandy delivers one of her better sets with these songs tracking love’s mysterious ways. The singer/actress has never possessed the boldest voice, but she knows how to connect to the emotional core of a lyric. Thankfully she’s working with some good songs and excellent producers (including Rico Love and Jim Jonsin). Unlike some past efforts, which sounded like musical wallpaper, there’s swagger to the club tracks (“Put It Down,” “Let Me Go”) and real soul in the ballads. Brandy shines on the latter as she struggles with conflicted relationships and the risks and rewards of vulnerability. The version of Frank Ocean’s keenly observed, honest “Scared of Beautiful” is among her finest moments ever. That track, along with the superb “Wish Your Love Away,” co-written by Mario Winans, show how important good material is to her success. With her producers subtly augmenting her vocals with lush harmonies, Brandy executes these songs with confidence. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Scared of Beautiful”

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