Human is Brandy's fifth studio album that was released on December 5, 2008 by Epic Records.
- Human Intro 0:20
- The Definition 3:42
- Warm It Up (With Love) 3:58
- Right Here (Departed) 3:38
- Piano Man 3:52
- Long Distance Interlude 1:00
- Long Distance 3:46
- Camouflage 3:59
- Torn Down 3:20
- Human 3:47
- Shattered Heart 3:48
- True 3:40
- A Capella (Something's Missing) 3:30
- 1st & Love 3:18
- Fall 4:22
In June of 2004, Brandy released her fourth album, "Afrodisiac" amidst the well-publicized termination of her short-lived business relationship with record executive and entertainment manager Benny Medina.
Brandy ended her contract with his Los Angeles-based Handprint Entertainment after less than a year of representation following controversies surrounding Medina's handling of the lead single "Talk About Our Love" and failed negotiations of a purported co-headlining tour with R&B singer Usher.
Despite the negative publicity, "Afrodisiac" emerged as Norwood's most critically acclaimed album by then, but became a moderate seller on most music markets.
The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 albums chart but while it went on to sell more than 416,000 copies in the United States, it generally failed to chart or sell noticeably elsewhere.
The Kanye West-produced track "Talk About Our Love" reached number six on the UK Singles Chart, but later singles such as "Afrodisiac" & "Who Is She 2 U" failed to score successfully on the popular music charts and promotion for the album soon ended.
At the end of 2004, after eleven years with the company, Brandy asked for and received an unconditional release from her original label Atlantic Records.
By the time her contract expired, several of her longtime patrons (such as music producer Darryl Williams and industry executive Sylvia Rhone) had left the company and she felt mismanaged by her new team of which she found was "looking more towards the hip-hop artists" on the label and "didn't know what to do with [her]."
Completing her contract with Atlantic Records, a compliation album consisting of Brandy's four albums called "The Best of Brandy" was released in March of 2005. After that, Brandy reportedly began shopping for a new record deal under her brother Ray J's vanity label, Knockout Entertainment, which would co-venture her subsequent releases, including her fifth album which she began recording independently.
"Human" peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 73,000 copies. It also peaked at #5 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #6 on Billboard's Top Digital Albums chart.
"Human" received generally favorable reviews from music critics, averaging a 67 out of a 100 among averaged reviews on Metacritic.
Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe complimented the album as appropriately rich and varied: "It's better than good enough. It's a light, breezy listen that shows off Brandy's resilience, humility, joy, and vibrancy." She especially highlighted Jerkins' input on the album: "Jerkins manages to bring out the expressive best in her pleasantly raspy vocalizing."
The Guardian writer Alex Macpherson noted "Human" "a thoughtful, intimate work on which Norwood sings movingly about fragility and fear," giving it four and a half stars out of five.
Andy Kellman of AllMusic called it Brandy's "most platitudinal" and "least enjoyable release in her catalog," adding: "Brandy is clearly in a comfort zone that enables her to open up more than ever [...] Human is nothing if not a serious album. But it could very well be her most useful one." He gave the album three and half stars out of five.
Billboard magazine said that "while Human is missing the sassy Brandy we know and love from such tracks like 'I Wanna Be Down' and 'Talk About Our Love,' we can still appreciate the much-needed solace of setting personal turmoil to memorable music."
Jon Dolan, writing for Blender, gave the album three out of five stars and commended Norwood's decision to re-team with Jerkins: "Now she's gone back to girlie hip-hop Eden; four songs were written by Jerkins, author of her best late-'90s hits. Fluttery jams about long distance longing and time-suspending slow dances are balanced by grown-up moments of deeply felt, if slightly weird, balladic fortitude."
Jon Pareles from The New York Times felt that the sentiments of the songs, whether self-affirming or heartbroken, were back to generic ones: "Song titles like 'Torn Down' and 'Shattered Heart' show how much Brandy is trying to get serious, taking on an adult world where happily ever after is elusive. But she still comes across as a fledgling, a personality still being formed, eagerly tagging along after her role models."
In his review for Entertainment Weekly, Henry Goldblatt noted "the huskiness that defined Brandy's prior work has been replaced by wispier and higher tones. The result is pleasant but far less ambitious than her last CD, 2004's Afrodisiac."
Mikael Wood's review for Los Angeles Times was less emphatic. He gave the album one and a half stars out of four, and said: "Unfortunately, it's also hard to make it through the thing. Brandy's strong suit has never been her thoughtfulness; appropriately for someone with her Hollywood history, she's long been one of R&B's emptiest vessels, a gorgeous voice used by a series of gifted producers to communicate their own unique ideas."