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Album Review: Toni Braxton ‘Sex and Cigarettes’

A personal and sultry side comes to the forefront.

Jennifer Dixon

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The queen of sultry R&B returned in 2018, revealing a sexier side to herself. After a long, eight year-hiatus, Toni Braxton finally released her album, Sex and Cigarettes in 2018. As always, Braxton delivers with pure, raw emotion.

It feels like the 90’s era with hits like “Breathe Again,” “Let It Flow,” “Un-break My Heart”and “Another Sad Love Song.” Braxton opened up about her new album in an interview with Hunger : “I’m trying to say that not everything has to be sad. I tried to make it a little sexy, a little empowering. Like, I’m brokenhearted, but I’m not going to take it lying down, ok!!!”

The 51-year-old singer seems to be living her best life and it is clearly evident in this project. Braxton lays everything out on the table and speaks bluntly about her feelings and emotions leading a journey through her heartbroken experiences. Braxton has always remained open and honest with her fans, which is why she is a legend in the music industry.

Throughout her 26-year career, Braxton has learned how to capture the audience’s attention with her buttery voice, alternately cooing, moaning, and trembling. These moments can definitely be heard on the album’s title track “Sex and Cigarettes.” She sings, “You make me crazy, crazy/I swear you act like you hate me, hate me/How can you tell me ‘I love you’/Then do the things you do?/At least try and lie to me, lie to me/Oh yeah/Instead, you come straight to our bed/Smelling like sex and cigarettes.”

Braxton continues to serenade and move by addressing the underlying truths about relationships. Braxton has no plans to slow down anytime soon —  the “Long As I Live” tour (with SWV) is set to kick off on January 19th — and it seems she has found her happy place.

“Sex and Cigarettes” is Braxton’s best album to date. Her feistiness, authenticity, and heartfelt messages is what makes her music timeless. She will continue to leave her mark for generations to come.     

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Jennifer is a graduate student studying English at Governors State University. She loves music and writing, which fueled her interest for a career in music journalism. She is currently working towards finishing her degree. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, shopping, and advocating for those with Cerebral Palsy.

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