Toni Braxton, ‘Deadwood’ | Track Review
Adult Contemporary R&B veteran Toni Braxton returns with “Deadwood,” her first new solo single in years.
Adult contemporary R&B artist Toni Braxton was hot. Not only in regards to her physical beauty, but also in regards to her voice and sound, particularly in the 90s. Like many artists, once the fame wanes, it wanes for good. Braxton isn’t nearly as popular as she was back-when. Nonetheless, she’s continued to release new music, winning a Grammy for her collaborative album with Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce (2014). She returns with a new single, “Deadwood.” It doesn’t resurrect her “Un-break My Heart” days, but serves as a reminder that Toni Braxton never was and never will be a slouch.
“Deadwood” opens with rhythmic guitar accompaniment. From the start, it has that vintage adult contemporary R&B vibe. Braxton delivers smooth, pure, and robust vocals. She sounds as refined as ever. The chorus possesses a beautiful sound, even though it’s not particularly catchy or game-changing. After a lovely first verse and chorus, Braxton sounds like she has a bit more bite on the second verse. The second verse features more dynamic, fuller accompaniment.
The second chorus is also bigger than the first. Compared to the initial iteration, the chorus latches more. The bridge separates itself from verses and choruses. As bridges often do, it features a different harmonic progression and a bigger sound. Thoughtfully, there’s a comedown following the bridge. This is a common practice, but works particularly well here. Braxton showcases incredible grit and power on the final chorus, sounding well-rounded, inspired, and invested into “Deadwood.”
Ultimately, “Deadwood” isn’t the greatest song ever written or performed, but Toni Braxton makes it sound great. It checks off the boxes in regards to vocals, production, and pleasantness. This is not the second coming, but it’s always swell to hear Toni again.