Toni Braxton, "Pulse"

3.5

In recent years, Toni Braxton has had label issues, health problems and other difficulties that put her music career on hold. Five years after her last release, "Libra," the 42-year-old singer is back with her sixth studio album, "Pulse," full of a whole other dilemma: men. On the song "Yesterday," Braxton breaks up with her partner, singing, "You are so yesterday, won't let you rain on my parade," while complaining about abandonment on "Woman," where she warns over a slinky production, "I hope that you don't wake up when it's too late to make up." Meanwhile, on top of a pulsating beat, the title track finds the singer hopeful and "not giving up on love." When Braxton isn't sulking about heartbreak, she's enjoying being a woman. Atop hand claps on the song "Lookin' at Me," she flirts with a clubgoer, and over the piano strokes of "Hands Tied," she reassures her man she can "love him with her hands tied." --Mariel Concepcion