Full Moon

After a lengthy musical pause (it's been four years since her sophomore set, Never Say Never), Brandy returned earlier this year with the off-kilter "What About Us?" Produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jer

After a lengthy musical pause (it's been four years since her sophomore set, Never Say Never), Brandy returned earlier this year with the off-kilter "What About Us?" Produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, the trippy track goes against the musical grain, with the artist singing against—not with—the mechanical beats. Jarring at first, the top 10 hit sounds like nothing else on radio, and therein lies its strength. But those expecting more of the same from Full Moon will be disappointed, as it's a fairly paint-by-numbers affair. On tracks like "I Thought" and "Can We," Brandy attempts to share Mary J. Blige's world instead of carving out one of her own. The set's most shining moments occur on the ballads, particularly the Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell-produced "He Is" and the Uncle Freddie-produced "Nothing." The album closes with a sublime cover of PM Dawn's "I'd Die Without You" (here titled "Die Without You"), produced by Robert "Big Bert" Smith, Brandy, and her brother Ray J.—MP