After "Toni Braxton" (1993) and "Secrets" (1996), her third album is a welcome release in the current musical climate, dominated as it is by boy and girl bands who largely have a teen appeal.
Seductive, steamy, and relaxing, this lady's low, cultivated voice immediately transports one to a different plane. Suspended on the platitudes of her throaty crooning, one invariably unwinds and loosens up, bit by bit.
Several songs from this collection are worth a mention. "Gimme Some", sporting a quick rap from TLC's Lisa Lopes is groovy. "Spanish Guitar" is a beautiful love song. "He Wasn't Man Enough" has an infectious beat, "Maybe" is a song with a unique vocal style and finally, the title song "The Heat" is a pleasure to hear - for its own sake.
The tunes are lilting and hummable. The songs are representative of how women feel in love and out of it. Relationships are talked about, especially the ones shared by them with men. Through this album, it can be said that Braxton has achieved her self-declared goal of being a "spokesperson for all the women out there".
I'll leave you to her, with a listening tip. Float on the inflections of this dusky African-American's voice while immersed in a bath after a day of hard work, and let all the husky singing take care of that little tension-knot at the back of your neck.This article was first published on 15 May 2000.