Being an artist, I find packaging to be very important when it comes to creating an album. The album cover is basically the visual that the listener associates to the music they will hear. As such, it sets the mood to what the listener will anticipate when they listen to the album. Have you ever find yourself not wanting to listen to an album due to the terrible quality of the packaging? Yeah, me too. For most cases, the best albums will always have the most meaningful and substantial packaging while the worst will look like a graphic design made by a high schooler in 30 minutes. Here, I will rank the elusive and iconic packaging of Toni Braxton’s albums from worst to best. Let’s get started shall we?
Commentary: Before we actually begin this countdown, let’s get this artwork out of the way shall we? Why is the the album entitled ‘Snowflakes’ when Toni is wearing a flaming hot red tanktop? A poor attempt at clever irony maybe? Toni’s spiky tips in her hair isn’t getting any points from me either. As a matter of fact, this album cover can be done easily within 10 minutes using MS Paint only. No joke.
7. More Than A Woman
Commentary: Yet another forgettable artwork I’d get rid of and replace in Toni’s discography if I had the chance. Toni’s back may look slick and sexy, but if your album is gonna have a title that’s a tribute to the R&B Fashion Icon Aaliyah you might as well make your cover a little more inspired. Is it just me or does this remind you of an ad from an old Nivea commerical back in 2002?
Commentary: The pose, the flowing violets, and the slight tinges of blue are a great way to celebrate the longevity and diva-ness of Toni’s 17th year mark in her career. Other than that, there’s nothing really much to say about this cover. Slight note: if I rated this artwork over the one I saw at Fully Booked last week, I would’ve given it half a point less. Why? It was so dark you can barely see anything.
5. Love, Marriage & Divorce
Commentary: The music may have been a disappointment, but the packaging certainly isn’t. The clever use of silhouettes really brings out the domineering aggression of Toni and producer Babyface’s laidback stance as they’re ready to conquer the R&B scene once more with their mega-sized hits back in the day. The use of ‘starring’ which reminded me of action movies was a nice touch too!
Commentary: Maybe I rated this album cover to low on the list? Whatever. Undoubtedly, ‘Secrets’ showcases Toni’s lovely visage as she’s ready to denounce her heartbreak to the world or coo you with her soft and mellow jams throughout the album. The thing that particularly stood out to me was her luscious wet hair that gives a very refreshing vibe, sort of like music that you would play when you’re in a spa or when you want a relaxing massage. On the flip side, the album title unintendedly (or intendedly?) merges with the color of Toni’s skin, therefore rendering it not very readable at first. The quality of the zoomed-in picture of Toni isn’t the best either.
Commentary: Man oh man if this isn’t one of her most underrated album covers ever! Libra showcases Toni’s new flaming red hair a la Janet’s Velvet Rope in contrast with the lush dark blues throughout the cover. The gradient shimmer in the background gives a nice organic glimmer-y feel to the album. This use of gold font this time is properly placed as well, opting for a more minimalistic use of Toni’s name without adding her surname in. I just wished the title were a littlee more readable. Other than that, it’s all good.
2. The Heat
Commentary: Most fans would consider this as one of her best album covers, and I can definitely see why. The fiery red (Toni loves red, doesn’t she?) look of the album sets the mood for a more urban direction Toni had chosen for this project. Her outfit comprised of a gem-encrusted collar and a shimmering bra along with an open thigh skirt is a complementary look to the cover as well. The gradient blur used as it descends down to her thighs gives a ‘melting’ impression to the album and double functions as putting focus to her face. Bravo!
Of course, the no.1 title is undeniably one of the most iconic album covers in R&B History. Without further ado…
1. Toni Braxton
Commentary: The pose. The black jacket white tank top jeans ensemble. The black entrailing and uneven border. The bold and very readable font of her name which screams out ‘I’m the #1 R&B Diva in the world and I’m ready to conquer the industry!’. Toni’s debut album cover is nothing short of perfection. As you listen to the album from top to bottom, you simply cannot shake this image off your head. Toni is ready to seize the R&B scene and she’s not leaving any leftovers behind to her competitors.