2020 has brought about many changes, and one of the most noticeable changes has been the act of rediscovery. Many people worldwide have been rediscovering talents, passions, and revisiting moments in their lives that they have either neglected or pushed to the side based on various pressures and lifestyle shifts. Personally, I have made it an unofficial mission to revisit musical selections and albums that were popular when I was growing up. To provide a brief context of why I am “rediscovering” artists, I’ve had many life changes that have happened back to back over the past few years.
For example, I graduated high school, took about two weeks off, and began taking college classes that summer. Went through college and graduated. I took another year off and went back to college because of the recession. Graduated again, got married, relocated, worked for a few years in retail, relocated back to where I left, had a baby, went back to college as a career change, got divorced, and so on. I think by now you get the point. In addition to all of those life changes, I wasn’t allowed to purchase popular music growing up, so whatever was playing on the radio or on the video music shows was all I knew about the artist.
However, I have such a love for music that I found myself slowly discovering why people enjoyed listening to various albums over the years. And this year, I decided to dig a little deeper into my Apple Music account vault. So, as the inaugural post in this series, I’m beginning with one of my favorite singers, Brandy, and her fourth studio album Afrodisiac. Afrodisiac hit the stores and iTunes on June 28, 2004. It debuted at number 3 and peaked on the Billboard Charts on July 16, 2004, at number 4 and spent 20 weeks on the chart.
The released singles were Talk About Our Love feat Kanye West, Who is She to U, and the title track, Afrodisiac. Afrodisiac was well received by critics but commercially did not do what her previous albums had done. However, the music industry was going through various shifts, and changes after the entire sector were shaken by what can be considered the grandfather of streaming music and piracy scandals, and so forth. Aside from that, the state and sound of popular music shifted as well. But with all that aside, Brandy was and still remains one of the most influential artists of her time, and I can assure you it will be beyond.
So, after listening to the album in its entirety, I found myself compelled to wonder what would have happened if the record label would have selected a different set of songs to release. First off, the musical contributions and production from this album were unlike anything else at the time, with producers such as Timbaland and Kanye West assisting. For all intents and purposes, this album still knocks in 2020, and I could easily see several songs succeeding right now on the airwaves. Which is just a testament to how timeless Brandy’s music is. So without further ado, let me share what I feel should have been the other two singles released after Talk About Our Love from the Afrodisiac project.
Now. I will preface this by saying that I knew about I Tried a few years ago. However, after going back to stream the album, I immediately felt slighted again as a fan. The irony about this song not being released as a single is laughable as it was positioned as the fifth song on the album directly under Talk About Our Love. I did a little reading around and found that it was speculated that this album track was supposed to be released as the fourth single. I can say that it was definitely a missed opportunity. What makes I Tried so special is the musicality of instruments and sound, lyrical references, and Brandy’s signature rasp! My goodness. It’s soulful but teeters on the edge of a rock. And like I mentioned before, her signature rasp and sultry tone on this track are undeniably the ingredients to an international hit.
Where You Wanna Be
I just discovered this song a day ago. This song right here. Baby, this song blew me away! As I rode around during my lunch break, this track came on, and I instantly hit replay after it went off. Also, like the other song I mentioned, Where You Wanna Be was positioned as track six right after I Tried. So essentially, the hidden hit singles were right below Talk About Our Love. I could also see Where You Wanna Be being a great Fall/Winter release as well. It just has that type of vibe to it.
There you have it. These are the songs I would have selected as the second and third release from Afrodisiac. As an honorable mention, I will even throw in one more option, and that song would be Necessary. This track was unique to the album, and it also featured a unique sound for the time. Unfortunately, we can’t go back and relive the moment in time of the release. Still, we can relive the magic that is the album and hope for a possible release of other unreleased or even remastered gems in the future.
Referenced Articles and Content: https://www.billboard.com/music/brandy/chart-history/BLP/song/456828
Video links added from YouTube. Check out the album on Brandy’s Official YouTube account and on all streaming services!