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Toni Braxton: Pulse 

Atlantic

There was a time when Toni Braxton used to nail hits with her hands tied. The sexy, 42-year-old cougar draping Trey Songz in the remix of "Yesterday" hopes that she can do it again. Artistically, Braxton largely succeeds. She gets props for abandoning the tenor she used throughout Libra and More Than a Woman. Benefiting from an immense upgrade in production and songwriting over those disappointing releases, Pulse sets out to grab you by the throat. "Make My Heart," an infectious house jam with a horn-laden track, demands some fancy footwork, and the sweat party continues with "Lookin' at Me." But it wouldn't be Braxton without a collection of big breathy ballads, a desire fulfilled here in spades. With veteran producers Harvey Mason, David Foster and Troy Taylor, joined by a school bus of newcomers, Braxton finally unties the rope choking her recording career. 3 out of 5 stars.

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