"Libra" is the fifth studio album by American R&B vocalist Toni Braxton, launched on September 27, 2005, through Blackground Records and Universal Records. The album marked her departure from long time label Arista Records as she signed with Blackground Records, which was dispersed by Universal Records at the time.
The album title represents Braxton's astrological sign, Libra, and stresses the theme of balance and consistency in relationships which is explored throughout the record. The album includes an eclectic mix of musical designs, consisting of pop, R&B, and soul. Significant factors to the album's production include Bryan-Michael Cox, Ron Fair, Rich Harrison, and Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins.
Commercial Performance and Reception
"Libra" debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart, offering 114,593 copies in its very first week, making it Braxton's 5th consecutive top-ten entry on the chart. Since April 2007, the album had offered over 441,000 copies in the United States. Globally, the album also charted in nations like Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The album got mixed-to-positive reviews from music critics upon its release. They applauded Braxton's singing efficiency and a few of the production but slammed the album's absence of cohesion and innovativeness. Despite this, "Libra" made Braxton a Grammy Award election for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the single "What's Good?" in 2006.
Singles and Promotions
The lead single from the album, "Please", was launched in May 2005, and features rapper Irv Gotti. The single peaked at number 36 on the United States Billboard Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart but did not achieve significant success on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The tune and music video showcased a more sensual side of Braxton, which reflected the album's theme of balance and the characteristics of relationships.
"Trippin' (That's the Way Love Works)" was released as the album's 2nd single in November 2005 and got modest reception from both critics and the charts. The 3rd and last single, "Take This Ring", was released in early 2006 and carried out similarly to the very first two singles, charting on the lower end of the Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Braxton supported the album's release by appearing on various tv shows, such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Live with Regis and Kelly, carrying out songs from the album live. Additionally, she embarked on the Libra Tour in 2006, which saw her carry out in select cities in the United States.
Tradition and Impact
Regardless of the combined reception and industrial performance, "Libra" holds a special place in Toni Braxton's extensive discography. The album showcases her immense vocal capabilities and flexibility as an artist, mixing components of R&B, pop, and soul. The themes of balance and consistency in relationships resonate with many fans and listeners, making the album relatable and personal.
While "Libra" may not be considered among Toni Braxton's many renowned works, it represents a crucial era in her career, as she checked out brand-new musical instructions and partnerships after leaving her long-time label. Overall, "Libra" stands as a strong representation of Braxton's artistic growth, maturity, and ever-present singing prowess.
Artist: Toni Braxton
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