Ranking the Best Brandy Albums

The story of Brandy’s fandom has always fascinated me.

R&B fans of my generation literally grew up with her. I remember sitting at my kitchen table watching Brandy Norwood, born just eight months before me, evolve from playing the daughter on ABC’s Thea to becoming R&B’s golden child by the mid 90s. She, along with Monica, Aaliyah and Usher – and a bit later, Destiny’s Child – would symbolize R&B’s new youth movement. She’d set the tone for R&B going into the new millennium.

But it’s the generation of fans behind us – those five to 10 years younger – who really became enthralled with Brandy. Whether it was growing up on reruns of Brandy’s hit show Moesha or just being captivated by her backlog of hits, those fans would go on to revere Brandy the same way we 80s babies looked up to the Whitney Houstons and Anita Bakers of our day.

The result is this – in the era of social media, Brandy has some of the most outspoken, passionate fans on your Twitter timeline. They were raised to her music.

So let’s look back at that music, ranking her discography from bottom to top. As always, rankings are determined by song quality, consistency, and impact on the genre. Also, we’re only looking at studio LPs – no live albums or EPs. And don’t try to slide the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack into the convo, either.

two eleven

6. Two Eleven (2012)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Two Eleven has long been a divisive album in R&B fandom. Some love it, others absolutely abhor it. I get both sides of that argument. The album has its share of underrated high points (personally speaking, “Wildest Dreams” is one of my favorite Brandy cuts ever) but it takes a slight hit for uneven pacing and so-so filler. It’s far from a disaster but mildly disappointing.

Forgotten favorites: “Wildest Dreams,” “Put It Down,” “So Sick”

human

5. Human (2008)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Ah yes, the Darkchild reunion album! Anticipation was insanely high for this one as Brandy linked back up with longtime collaborator Rodney Jerkins for the first time in nearly a decade. While it’s a much more consistent listen than the later Two Eleven would be, the Brandy/Darkchild reunion felt almost felt too safe this time. Between the lack of standout tracks and absurdly high expectations, Human winds up being a solid but pretty forgettable release.

Forgotten favorites: “The Definition,” “Torn Down,” “True”

brandy

4. Brandy (1994)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: You Beyhive haters say you’re tired of Beyonce in 2019? Hmph, you should have been around in 1994, when Brandy was ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE. Her ascent to music stardom started right here, a promising yet powerful debut that was a prime showcase of ’90s adolescence. At age 15, she quickly became the face of R&B’s new generation, and this album had the hits to her back up. This is how you make a debut.

Forgotten favorites: “Give Me You,” “Always on My Mind,” “Love Is On My Side”

afrodisiac

3. Afrodisiac (2004)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Afrodisiac is yet another controversial entry in Brandy’s discography. In 2004, Brandy decided to completely reinvent her sound, teaming with hitmaker Timbaland for her fourth release. Some Day One fans were taken aback by the more mature themes and harder-edged production. But sometimes change is good – Brandy and Timbo found incredible chemistry and the change of pace allowed Brandy to stay ahead of the pack in the evolving R&B landscape. It’s certainly not her best album (some of the songwriting is a little suspect) but it’s my personal favorite.

Forgotten favorites: “I Tried,” “Focus,” “How I Feel”

Full Moon

2. Full Moon (2002)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: By 2002 Brandy was at a crossroads. She was challenged with following up her most successful album to date as well as moving on from her long-running TV show Moesha (without telling us who was pregnant and who snatched up Miles – questions that still need answers 17 years later). The solution? To remind y’all that she’s a grown woman. Full Moon was a true coming-of-age album, with Brandy incorporating more mature themes and experimenting with electronic-infused R&B sounds. The gamble paid off, with Full Moon celebrating her ascent into womanhood.

Forgotten favorites: “It’s Not Worth It,” “Nothing,” “WOW”

never say never

1. Never Say Never (1998)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Nah, no sophomore slump here. Fans have long debated Never Say Never vs Full Moon when discussing Brandy’s greatest achievement. While Full Moon is strong, several of the songs feel a little too similar midway through the LP. That’s not the case for Never Say Never, an album stuffed with distinctive tracks, radio hits, signature ballads and incredible album cuts. Seriously, the weakest songs on this album are probably the ones that resided on radio for months on end; the brightest gems never saw mainstream spotlight. I’ve said many times before that 1998 was the year that kept on giving – in fact, it gave us the greatest album of Brandy’s career.

Forgotten favorites: “Learn the Hard Way,” “Never Say Never,” “Put That on Everything”

What’s your favorite Brandy album? Annoyed that Full Moon didn’t hit the top spot? Is Two Eleven better than it gets credit for? Tell us about it in the comments.

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7 Comments

  1. Never S-A-Y Never was basically perfect and too good to follow up. Afrodisiac is my number 2 from her; I bumped both in my car nearly nonstop in between UGK joints

  2. I’m a Brandy Stan. Of course NSN is #1. She gave me life on Afrodisiac with that Coldplay sample Clocks but her version was way higher Should I Go. The album that touches my soul the most? Human because I cared for my Uncle before he passed and this pulled me through.

  3. AFRODISIAC IS HER BEST WORK PERIOD!!! NOT UP FOR DEBATE

  4. Great ranking. Afrodisiac, Full Moon and Never Say Never are literally perfect albums, so where one ranks them depends on personal taste. Of the three, Full Moon is probably my favorite (Can We may be my favorite Brandy song ever), but you can’t go wrong with any of the three. I do think Two Eleven is better than Human. I haven’t listened to a track off Human in quite a few years. Two Eleven at least has “Do You Know What You Have.”

  5. I would like Two Eleven more if it were trimmed down to thirty minutes, only hooks, and 10 tracks.

    This list is accurate, though. Human put me all the way to sleep. I will have to try that album again one day.

  6. I definitely believe that Never Say Never is #1 it has in fact for me through some rough patches in my life 💯

  7. I definitely believe that Never Say Never is #1 it has in fact for me through some rough patches in my life

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