More Than a Woman

Toni Braxton is in a tricky position.

Toni Braxton is in a tricky position. She's too mature and polished to be a convincing contemporary of street-gals Ashanti and Tweet, but she's still far too funky and youthful to fully play the sage old-school diva. More Than a Woman shows Braxton striving to walk a tightrope between the two stylistic worlds with unavoidably mixed results. To her credit, she handles the task with more dexterity and finesse than most. But in her bid to be a little bit of everything for everyone, some of the unique flavor that has made her a star is sadly diminished. Still, when Braxton hits the mark, she does so better than anyone, as deftly proved on the deliciously theatrical ballad "Lies, Lies, Lies," which is on par with her classic "Un-Break My Heart," as well as on the gently percussive "Selfish," which begs for single release. Both songs are potent enough to keep Braxton on commercial point for some time to come.—LF