Yes it may have been released in 1996 but this album remains one of my very favourites in a collection of well over 700. I do have a liking for female R&B and while some will say it sounds 'so nineties' I personally think that's a compliment, because that was a great decade for the genre. Of course I truly adore the mega-hit Un-break my Heart, I could listen to it a thousand times (probably have) and never grow tired of it; in fact if I want to show off my hi-fi system at its best, that is often my first-choice song to do it. What breaks my own heart is to hear of the stresses and breakdowns that Toni Braxton has had over the years, I think she has been bankrupt at least once; just 2 years after SECRETS came out, she filed for Chapter 7 protection from a reported $3.9 million debt. All of her personal household possessions were tagged and marked for sale to pay off her creditors, including her five Grammy awards. Unbelievable.
This despite Un-break my Heart being the second biggest single by a female artist ever. And there's so much more to SECRETS than just that one song! It gets off to a great start with 'Come On Over Here' and reaches other peaks with 'Talking In His Sleep', in fact there are a number of songs that portray a feeling of tragedy in her life which I kind of assume was NOT the situation when they were performed, so there's a spooky kind of foresight to the mood of the album, a sadness which I guess wasn't fully realised until years later, and for this reason, for me, it makes for a more emotive listening experience. I still think that she's under-rated, or at least unfairly treated, something went wrong somewhere in her career and SECRETS is an emotional foresight into what was to come later. And once again, this is a superbly well produced album, the quality is right up there with the best. Passionately recommended!