Tamar Braxton, "Calling All Lovers" (Epic/Streamline)
Tamar Braxton is not playing around.
The three-time Grammy nominee's third studio album, "Calling All Lovers," is seriously good — a reminder that while her outsized personality might bring the laughs to television ("The Real," ''Braxton Family Values," ''Vince & Tamar"), the multi-talented Braxton is a true music artist, at heart.
As far as vocal talent, she has little to prove. We knew Braxton could sing, well before she belted a note on the single "If I Don't Have You," or sent her smooth voice soaring on the emotional, piano-driven ballad "King."
What's most impressive about "Calling All Lovers" is that the collection of songs does a really good job of, not only capturing all stages of love, but of capturing Braxton's persona, too. Maybe that should be of no surprise, since Braxton is co-writer of every track save one. But it's a verifiable feat, especially considering the abundance of nice-sounding, but totally generic, could-have-been-sung-by-anyone R&B offerings floating around the genre.
"Baby I know the real you," Braxton coos on the upbeat, Polow da Don-produced "Catfish," a song aptly titled for the MTV show that regularly exposes fakes in the world of online romance. It's the kind of side-eyeing that Braxton is known for, and the humor doesn't stop there, showing up in more subtle ways, too, such as in the ad-libs on the doo-wop-inspired "Simple Things."
Braxton is self-assured on the super fun "Must Be Good to You," vulnerable on "Broken Record" and in love on the blissful and sultry "Raise the Bar," produced by DJ Camper. She may be everywhere these days — including ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" — but after "Calling All Lovers," fans may soon be calling for more of her.
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