Tamar Braxton - "Love and War"
3.5Overall Score

Tamar Braxton wears many titles including reality star, wife and new mother, and now she’s showing the world her strengths as a musician.

On September 3, nearly nine months after the release of the album’s lead single, the title track “Love and War,” Tamar unleashes her sophomore album.

Described as the “soundtrack to her relationship” with husband-manager Vincent Herbert, Love and War follows the ups and downs of marriage while trying to find a balance between work and love.

“Everybody experiences love but sometimes it feels like war,” Tamar explained to Robin Roberts during a recent appearance on “Good Morning America.”

The One
“Love and War” opens with the Notorious B.I.G.- sampled “The One,” a delectable mid-tempo ode that fits right in with 90s R&B. “I don’t need no one, baby/ Without you I’m incomplete/ My love is just like the bar/ Put it all on me,” she sings on the chorus. The lyrics are flirty while her voice and the arrangement provide a mature interpretation of the words.

Tip Toe
The sophomore selection is a sassy club-ready anthem on which Tamar warns her lover to “tip toe” — or keep their love on the low. The beat is driven by a rhythmic clap, injecting a bit of urban flavor into the album. Overall, it is an okay song and maybe a little skip-worthy.

Stay and Fight
Next, we fall into “Stay in Fight,” on which Tamar declares that she wants to pick up the pieces of a broken relationship and attempt to reassemble whatever is left of it. “I wanna stay and fight for you/ Fight ’til my heart is black and blue,” she chimes. “I wanna stay and fight for us/ Fight like hell before I give up.” This ballad has a very slow pace but the rousing background ad-libs alone are enough to make you listen through the entire song at least once.

Love and War
Released as the lead single, the album’s title track is simply timeless perfection. It is brilliantly written, sang with passion, and is a great representation of the album as a whole. The title practically sums up everything the project is about. “Love and War” was released to general acclaim amongst critics and fans alike, and ultimately peaked at No. 8 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

All the Way Home
We continue along Tamar’s journey with another emotional selection, “All the Way Home.” Thus far, this ballad is one of the stronger songs on the album, altogether. The cut shares a similar message with “Stay and Fight,” but is written with more substance and paints a detailed image of the situation in context. She sings, “I’m just speeding down the road/ I’m head out of control/ ‘Cause I’m thinking ’bout you all the way home.” “All the Way Home” also sounds like a song from the 90s R&B or in the early 00s. Tamar’s vocals are strong and clear, and the ad-libs are explosive.

One on One Fun
We take a break from ballads with the mid-tempo “One on One Fun.” In short, this song is basically an unpolished disaster. It’s very hard to hear what Tamar is singing, the background vocals seem sporadic and the chorus is annoyingly repetitive. This song would be more suitable for lazy singers like Rihanna or Selena Gomez.

She Did That
Tamar took one of her trademark expressions, “she did that,” and turned it into an up-tempo jam. I am noticing that up-tempos are not Tamar’s strongest suit. The song was probably fun to create in the studio, and that is where it should  have been left. Albeit catchy, the lyrics are childish and don’t fit in with the album’s theme, sonically. Thankfully, it’s only one minute long.

Hot Sugar
Prior to the album’s release, “Hot Sugar” was one of the songs I was most excited to hear in full. This track is easily the best out of the up-tempos. Lyrically, it is a bit shallow but it is still a fun, solid song. The sound is flirty and radio-friendly. Tamar recently shot the music video for this song and I think that it will be a great opportunity to show off a little sexiness.

Pieces
The pace slows back down with “Pieces.” She belts, “I tried a thousand times/ Told my heart a thousand lies/ You won’t me let me say goodbye/ You don’t wanna see me do it.” It’s a pretty song, and fan favorite. It could be a hit.

Where It Hurts
“Where It Hurts” tells an interesting story and is the first time on “Love and War” when Tamar puts her own feelings aside and shows concern for her lover. “I can kiss away the pain,” Tamar tenderly reassures. The modernized production is also enjoyable.

Prettiest Girl
“Prettiest Girl” describes how every girl wishes to be seen in the eyes of their better half. From our observations of Tamar’s relationship with her husband Vincent, the lyrics are believable and definitely relatable. The sound is fresh, likely resonating more with younger fans.

Sound of Love
Tamar taps into her intimacy with this soft, endearing tune. “You make me feel like it’s no one in the world/ It’s just us tonight,” she croons. “Tonight, just hold my body and don’t ever let go/ Just kiss the places that keeps me wanting more.” “Sound of Love” is very grown-up and sexy.

White Candle
“White Candle” is one of my favorite songs on”Love and War.” Tamar ventures away from formulaic R&B with an experimental acoustic sound, which feels kind of refreshing. The lyrics are profound yet straightforward, while her vocal performance heighten the passion.

Thank You Lord
The album concludes on a personal note as Tamar pours our her heart with this touching ballad. The song is quite fitting for a closer and also serves as a testament for overcoming the struggles she’s faced in trying to juggle her personal life with a revitalized career.

 

Overall, I think that the album is believable, relatable, and shows off a softer side of Tamar that she’s been hiding for a while. Despite her larger-than-life personality, “Love and War” has helped me realize that she is just a regular person. I’m excited to see where her career goes from here.

Refill: “White Candle,” “Love and War,” “Pieces”

Refund: “One on One Fun”

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

  • Jonell

    People are ready to try to sqaush Tamar cause of her attitude on TV. It’s cool, but come on man. Pieces? That’s a monster. Record reviewers are so quick to dismiss something so they can sound like they know something. At least you are on the right side of hot sugar. That is going to be a FUN at the club.

    • Malachi

      I love Tamar. Just not some of the songs on the album. It has nothing to do with her “attitude on TV,” just my personal tastes.

    • Khi

      Exactly! Pieces is amazing! And she’s an R&B singer !!! I don’t want her to try other genres! You have beyonce for that she does the pop! Let tamar bring r&B back! Who is this reviewer anyway?! Lol

    • Malachi

      Every successful artist dabbles into other genres. No one is saying that she should go and release a classical or country album, just experiment a little and it will only help her career. You are acting like I said her album is horrible. Lol.

  • omaR IH

    The Rihanna comment was unneccessary. Why do we always have to bring black sisters down?? If Rihanna really wasn’t talented why is she successful??

    • Malachi

      Selena Gomez, who I mentioned in the same statement, is not Black. What I hear in my ears has nothing to do with their skin color. Rihanna is talented but she’s an average singer.

  • Kandi Kane

    This CD is a Must!!!!! I was anxiously awaiting its release and have not been disappointed. There are at least 6 hits on this CD and the more I play it more songs are being added to the hit column. GREAT CD! GREAT JOB Tamar!

  • ams

    Boring Album only liked 4 out of 14

  • nerd

    are you kidding me, pieces is one of my favorite track off the album. however, agree with she did that and one on one fun.

  • Jess

    Pieces is EASILY the best track on the album!

  • Tara

    Overall I think this is a great album. She did that in my opinion was added for a bit of fun. Don’t take it so seriously. I just picked up this album and after listening for a few times my favs are “the one, love and war, all the way home, hot sugar, pieces, prettiest girl, white candle, sound of love, and thank you lord which is soooo heart felt. Yeah “she did that.” I really didn’t expect to like that many since there are hardly any albums put out that I enjoy every single song from. Well besides Adele and Beyoncé lol.

  • Aja

    Damn is she do, Damn if she don’t. Jeeze! Tamar’s Album is stellar. Reviews like this make it even harder for artist to gain an audience and stick to one genre and do it well. You wouldn’t expect Starbucks to start selling Pizza? Why because they sell coffee and they sell tons of coffee because they do coffee well. Same thing with singers….Everyone isn’t manufactured and overexposed like a Rihanna. R&B is struggling because people’s expectations are too high and they want too much! All of the cuts on this CD are excellent. They are produced and arranged very well. Pieces is hands down one of the best songs she has on her album. Her vocals on this song are melodic and soul stirring. The lyrics to most of her songs actually really have meaning and you can tell she took parts of her own life into them. Tamar took a courageous step in putting out good R&B music. She said, I have a great voice and I’m going to showcase it.. If she came out with a bunch of mid tempos and club songs she would be panned for not having enough ballads to show her “range”. Why can’t we just enjoy a great album and not overthink it.

    • Malachi

      I never said she should change genres, just experiment. No, Starbucks doesn’t change up and sell pizza, but they sell different types of coffee and food items, remaining true to their brand.

      Elvis experimented with genres. Mariah Carey experimented. Tina Turned experimented. And so did Michael Jackson.

      In the review, I clearly said, “I’m proud of this body of work that Tamar has presented. Suffice to say, her hard work and persistence definitely paid off.” I love the album as a whole, just not every song.

      Reviews (well, mine at least), aren’t intended to kiss butt. They reflect whatever I think, and I’m not trying to change anyone else’s opinion.

  • vfocused

    Havent even gotten the album and by these comments which I understand are these comments, it was kinda like I already thought. I like Tamar from her family reality shows, but because of her conceitedness and spoiled attitude, I felt that she would not sell big numbers. Everybody dont watch her shows but she did heavilty promote this album. Why did she not go platinum? Look how long it took for the album to come out. Understand she has been having a baby but that album was done before that. She has been everywhere promoting her album on tv and radio stations. What is up with her album sells? Tamar can blow now Im not shading her just saying for the cloute she has, already being Toni’s sister and Vincent Herbert wife, (Gaga’s manager) just would’ve thought she sold more. —Then I expected in a way that people heard those two songs she released and said nah, “I wait to hear more or she gotta come with more for me to buy”. These days due to the economy and just people being very particular, you have to really be good and knock it out for you to get that platinum album. I understand K’s record sales due to Love and HHATL show. Everyone does not watch that either. K did not promote her album everywhere. More money was put behind Tamar and she still did not go platinum. K’s album is hard and explicit but really good and different. Tamar should have done alot better but who knows maybe at the end of the count she will come up. Just sayin–she can still sang tho’ just drop all the attitude. Be humble if you know how.

    • Jenelle T.

      The final numbers for Tamar’s new album have not been tabulated yet because the album just dropped on September 3rd. So we don’t know what her sales look like yet. Bottom line, this is one of the best R&B albums that have dropped in the last 5 years…which is the audience that she is trying to reach. Not every artist wants or needs to crossover. I appreciate her bringing good, ol R&B back to the music game. I was about to put out an amber alert for it because its been missing for a minute. I’m glad Tamar returned it for the world to hear.

  • constance

    She only have a couple of songs that i like, i dont love any of them. I listened to the album three times and i still feel the same way. I love Tamar but i’m very disappointed in her album. So i need my 12 dollars back!

  • TG

    I simply love her entire CD. I wasn’t going to even try to give her a chance at first because of her attitude on TV. However, musically she is very talented and I think her CD is awesome. I bought it and I hope others do also. It is so true R&B and has a good mixture of slow jams and fast. Everyone has an opinion and mine is, The CD is HOT! We need real singers like this around.