Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Toni Braxton & Babyface

  • Love, Marriage & Divorce [Motown, 2014] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Love, Marriage & Divorce [Motown, 2014]
Through one number-one album, two number-two albums, one Vegas run, two Disney-on-Broadway runs, one season of Dancing With the Stars, two bankruptcies, and, absolutely, one divorce, Braxton has been as content-free as a soul diva can be. No wonder Kenny Edmunds grabbed her early on--she was platinum putty in his hands. But recall that Edmunds hasn't been Mr. Magic himself for a while, and assume Braxton would try anything. Bingo. Pretend they're writing/singing from experience. That's their line, and since each is but once-divorced, it has a patina. Weathered now, their mellow voices retain some lustre, and there's narrative arc and emotional texture to the well-doctored material--hurting the one you don't want to hurt, worrying about how she's doing, makeup sex, post-split attraction. Yet amid these consistent songs, the single sole-composer credit stands out, and it's Braxton's: "I Wish," about just how bad she hopes the other woman treats him. Inspirational Verse: "I hope she gives you a disease/So that you will see/But not enough to make you die/But only make you cry/Like you did me." A-