It's no surprise, therefore, that Human finds her vulnerable and reflective rather than sassy and saucy. "I've dropped all that baggage, let go out of that habit, the pain you can have it, 'cause now I'm content with me," she sings on Human's first proper song. Recurring themes on the album, which feels strikingly personal even though Brandy has songwriting credits on just two tracks, include self-acceptance, self-improvement and the healing power of love.
It's also unsurprising that Brandy never tries anything particularly innovative here - after so long away from the charts, she seems content just to sound up-to-date. Though the album features contributions from a palette of producers - including Brandy's longtime collaborator Rodney Jerkins, Toby Gad (Beyoncé, Fergie) and RedOne (New Kids, Lady GaGa) - there isn't much in the way of variety. In fact, almost every track here is a bombastic slice of 'Umbrella'-esque midtempo R&B.
However, this isn't to say that Human lacks the odd standout moment. An overdubbed Brandy sounds almost celestial delivering a message of mutual support and love on 'Right Here (Departed)', while the skittering synths of 'Piano Man' house a fitting tribute to her musical partnership with Jerkins. Best of all is the giddy '1st & Love', whose near-industrial beats capture all the giddy excitement of love at first sight.
Human isn't the album to come for if you're looking for bootylicious club bangers, and there's probably nothing here to have Rihanna or Beyoncé tossing in their Egyptian cotton-clad four posters, but this is a solid collection of thoroughly dignified modern R&B. Given the turbulent time she's had of it lately, solid and dignified is probably exactly what Brandy was going for.