Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart

First Hit #1: December 7, 1996

Imagine my surprise when I found out this was a Diane Warren song. In hindsight, it shouldn’t be too big of a shock, this is the kind of power ballad that Warren always writes, but it’s also part of Toni Braxton’s own twist on the ballad formula – which has been ballads with better than expected instrumentation, at least going by the songs that have reached the top of the charts. Apart from Braxton’s own performance – which did manage to get the chorus stuck in my head for about 15 years, so good job on her part – the big highlight here is the touch of flamenco guitar. It kind of grounds it, gives it a texture that’s unique, and separates it from other Warren songs that can sometimes run together. I’m not sure how much input Braxton had into her musical direction, but I’m finding that she was making music I’m look forward to every time I see her name on the list, so she was definitely doing something right. As well, her ballads just sound better than a lot of the typical ballads of the previous years, even if she’s using a familiar recipe.

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This entry was posted in 1996, 1997 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart

  1. RBerman says:

    Definite Céline Dion torch song territory here, with Braxton working the bottom of her range heavily. Really the verse is nondescript, but the chorus has both for a surprise key change and for a catchy melody. Producer David Foster shows that he survived the 80s nicely, adding the acoustic flavors which (as also heard recently in “No Diggity”) would become more common in soul hits like this as the new millennium arrived. The end of the music video amusingly shows her performing with an orchestra nowhere heard in the actual song.

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