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Full Moon is Brandy's third studio album that was released on March 5, 2002 by Atlantic Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. B Rocka Intro 1:19
  2. Full Moon 4:08
  3. I Thought 4:29
  4. When You Touch Me 5:43
  5. Like This 4:32
  6. All In Me 4:00
  7. Apart 4:27
  8. Can We 4:43
  9. What About Us? 4:10
  10. Anybody 4:55
  11. Nothing 4:48
  12. It's Not Worth It 4:23
  13. He Is 4:21
  14. Come A Little Closer 4:32
  15. Love Wouldn't Count Me Out 4:19
  16. Wow 4:12
  17. Die Without You 4:25

Album BackgroundEdit

In 1998, Brandy released her second album "Never Say Never" which featured the number-one hit song, "The Boy Is Mine" (with R&B singer Monica). During that same year, she starred in the film, "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" and later appeared with Diana Ross in the TV film, "Double Platinum."

Amid the cancellation of her UPN network sitcom, "Moesha," Brandy suffered from a nervous breakdown in November 1999 (which was the result of her then-hectic and unhealthy lifestyle along with a failed relationship where she experienced emotional abuse).

Frightened by the idea that a yet-to-be-made third album would not be able to live up to the success of her previous albums, Brandy went on a lengthy hiatus to reflect and take some introspective looks.

She told Jet magazine in 2002: "I needed to rejuvenate, get my creative juices flowing, balance my life with some privacy, to find my confidence, find my love of music again."

In mid-2000, Brandy began refocusing herself on her music career, contributing songs to the 2001 album "Urban Renewal" and appearing on the soundtrack to the film, "Osmosis Jones" (which introduced a scratchy, evocative edge to Brandy's voice, now having a deeper & warmer tone with a textured lower register and notably stronger falsetto).

RecordingEdit

In the fall of 2000, Brandy finally began conceiving ideas for a third studio album with Atlantic Records.

While Rodney Jerkins (the main producer of Brandy's previous album) and his Darkchild crew (including Fred Jerkins III and LaShawn Daniels) had been working on several new songs for Brandy's upcoming project in hopes of recreating the winning chemistry of "Never Say Never."

Brandy wanted to make sure that she was gaining more creative control over the project and arranged meetings with all her writers & musicians to discuss the lyrical topics & sounds that she wanted for the album.

According to Brandy: "I was involved from A-Z. Every song on the album was inspired by my life [...] I wanted to talk about how I feel on so many levels. I wanted to be in touch with all of my emotions and share them. I've taken three years off for myself and got a chance to find things I like to do, things I don't like and things I want to change about myself."

While Jerkins maintained his status as the album's executive producer, contributing most to its track listing with his team, Brandy also worked with regular collaborators Mike City and Keith Crouch, as well as Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell, Stuart Brawley, Jason Derlatka, and Jerkin's cousin Robert "Big Bert" Smith, with whom she became romantically involved during the project. In addition, she also recorded with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo from The Neptunes.

With Brandy fearing that the pair's material would not fit the concept of the album and break her type of production unit, it was left unused.

Rapper Ja Rule, singer Babyface and production duo Soulshock & Karlin were reportedly also involved into the project, but none of their songs eventually made the album's final track listing.

Even though Brandy has acknowledged that the creative focus of the album was very much on its technical realization and its sound, she declared "Full Moon" a concept album based on the development of a male-female relationship.

According to Brandy: "It's definitely the concept for the album —me falling in love, then going through some turbulence, and then, at the end, I find the person that I really want to be with— so it's a great concept and it's a great experience that I had. I found out a lot about myself. I found a lot out about love, and I'm just happy to have that reflect in my music."

Accounting the last three years of her life, Brandy decided to name the album after its title track, stating: "I have done a complete circle and I feel whole. All of that's reflected in the music. That's why I entitled [my album] Full Moon. It's a concept album, it's autobiographical. Everything that I've gone through in the last three years is reflected."

The album was originally set to be released on November 20, 2001, but those plans were later scrapped.

CompositionEdit

The first song, "Full Moon" is producer Mike City's only contribution to the album.

A piano-dominated up-tempo song, Brandy characterised it as urban contemporary, explaining that "Full Moon" is "pop and R&B at the same time [but] has a lot of elements to it." Lyrically, the song deals with a love at first sight during a full moon night.

"I Thought", a Jerkins-crafted song about female empowerment, features electro bass lines and crunchy drums that "propels [it] away from the traditional R&B sound in to a new arena," according to Christian Hopwood of BBC Music. Jerkins described it as an "anthem [and] a flip off of "The Boy Is Mine."

The fourth track, “When You Touch Me", a ballad, revolves around the planning of a rendezvous.

The following track, “Like This” sees Brandy continue to discuss her intimate desires with her lover.

On "All in Me", a "futuristically funked-out" record according to MTV News, Brandy pleads with her lover to have faith in her, promising him that she'll provide whatever he needs.

Producer Rodney Jerkins decided on the inclusion of a 2-step groove section during the middle of the song, following a gig in London months before where he was inspired by artists like Craig David and Artful Dodger.

"It's Not Worth It" finds Brandy trying to hold her relationship together after it has deteriorated to shambles.

Initially written in 1999, Jerkins built the song around Michael Jackson's ad-libbed vocals, resulting from a joint recording sessions for Jackson's 2001 studio album Invincible.

"He Is", the next song, is a love song with a classy piano and sparse drum track; speaking about God in third person, Brandy was unaware that the song was secretly conceptualized as a gospel song by its writers.

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Full Moon" peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, selling approximately 155,000 copies during its first week of release.

It was certified platinum by the RIAA for more than 1.1 million sold units.

Critical ReceptionEdit

The reception for "Full Moon" was generally mixed. On Metacritic, it has a score of 60 out of 100 on Metacritic (indicating "mixed or average reviews").

Craig Seymour of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A− rating, saying that "where [Rodney] Jerkins' herky-jerky stylings come off cold on Jacko's latest, they embolden 23-year-old Brandy as she learns the difference between teen heartbreak and grown-up betrayal, [suggesting] maturity and the high price that often comes with it."

Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic was critical with the album's length of over 70 minutes but considered it Brandy's most assured, risky album yet, stating: "Full Moon comes the closest to being a full-fledged, well-rounded album, as well as establishing a personality as a singer [...] There are plenty of moments here that are seductively smooth and even the filler goes down smoothly." He gave the album four out of five stars.

Slant Magazine writer Sal Cinquemani rated the album three stars out of five and compared it to Janet Jackson's 1986 album "Control", commenting: "For the most part, Full Moon is certainly a forward-minded album, lifting Brandy's typically schmaltzy brand of pop-R&B to a new, edgier plateau [...] The all-grown-up Miss Moesha seems to be making her final transition from sitting up in her room to sitting on top of the world."

Billboard magazine praised "Full Moon" for its ballads and the leading single but was unsatisfied with the album as a whole, stating that "those expecting more from the same [as "What About Us?"] will be disappointed, it's a fairly paint-by-numbers affair."

Devon Thomas, writer for The Michigan Daily, was generally disappointed with the album. He wrote that: "Heavily producer-driven, the album follows the template that catapulted her sophomore album to multi-platinum status. The tradition (or condition) continues on her junior outing, [which] exhibits the same ole Jerkins production we've heard time and time before, just slightly altered (or "updated") and equipped." Critical with mainstream R&B in general, he further summed: "We know it'll be another hit, another platinum plaque for the Moe-ster, but will this album go down on any 'Best of the Decade' lists? Highly unlikely."

Rolling Stone dismissed the album as "frantic, faceless, fake-sexy R&B." In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau gave the album a "dud" rating.

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