Sex & Cigarettes is the eighth studio album by American recording artist Toni Braxton, which was released on March 23, 2018, by Def Jam Records. This is her first solo album in eight years and serves as her debut for the Def Jam label, after signing a new record deal. Sex & Cigarettes is Braxton's first album to be issued with a Parental Advisory warning, and an edited version was also made available.
The album has been preceded by the release of two singles, "Deadwood" and "Long as I Live".
Background and promotion
On August 28, 2017, Braxton revealed via her social media she had shot the first music video "Deadwood" for her upcoming album, stating: "Had so much fun shooting @thunderstudios with my BFF @billewoodruff". The music video was directed by Bille Woodruff, who has previously filmed several of Braxton's music videos. On September 5, 2017, in an interview with The Insider, Braxton confirmed the title, Sex & Cigarettes, stating: "I feel like I'm older, I wanna say what I feel. I don't wanna be censored". To promote the album, Braxton held a private album listening session in London and also appeared on the daytime show Loose Women to promote the album and the single "Long as I Live". On March 9, 2018, Braxton announced the album was available for pre-order, revealing its cover and track listing of eight songs.
"Deadwood" was released as the lead single on September 15, 2017. The audio video was released to Braxton's Vevo account on September 13, 2017. The music video was released on Braxton's Vevo account October 6, 2017. On December 2, 2017, the song peaked at number thirty-four on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and spent a total of seventeen weeks on the chart. On December 9, 2017, the song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart and spent a total of twenty-one weeks on the chart.
"Long as I Live" was released as the second single on February 9, 2018. The audio video was released on Vevo on February 8, 2018.
A remix EP of "Coping" featuring five remixes of the song was released on November 10, 2017. Audio videos for each of the five remixed songs were released to Braxton's Vevo account the same day as the EP's release. On February 10, 2018, the song reached number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and has currently spent a total of sixteen weeks on the chart.
Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 77/100 from Metacritic. AllMusic writer Andy Kellman gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The Los Angeles Times' Mikael Wood gave the album a positive review, stating: "Even in her excitement, though, Braxton's singing — low and smoky, with just the right rawness around the edges — suggests she can sense trouble on the horizon."
Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, stating that "A very strong trio of songs open this record, beginning with Deadwood, which has a fantastic singalong chorus alongside acoustic strumming and chardonnay-doused strings. Perhaps it could have benefitted from a more traditional power ballad arrangement, but it's very good nonetheless."
Matt Bauer of Exclaim! gave the album a 7 out of 10 score, writing that "while not a classic, 'Sex & Cigarettes' is a solid effort from R&B's true queen of heartbreak."
1. "Deadwood" - Toni Braxton Kwame Ogoo Royce Doherty Frederik Ball Braxton Paul Boutin Ball - 3:59
2. "Sex & Cigarettes" - Antonio Dixon Braxton Patrick "J. Que" Smith Khristopher Riddick-Tynes Kevin E. Ross
Dixon Braxton Boutin - 3:46
3. "Long as I Live" - Braxton Dixon Boutin Dixon Braxton Boutin - 4:50
4. "FOH" - Braxton Daryl Simmons Dapo Torimiro Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds Kameron Glasper Torimiro Edmonds Braxton Boutin - 2:47
5. "Sorry" - Braxton Ogoo Doherty Ball Ball Braxton Boutin - 3:56
6. "My Heart" (featuring Colbie Caillat) - Braxton Torimiro Colbie Caillat Edmonds Glasper Torimiro Edmonds Braxton Boutin - 4:08
7. "Coping" - Braxton Dave Gibson Stuart Crichton James Newman Crichton Braxton Boutin - 3:54
8. "Missin'" Christopher "Tricky" Stewart Jeremiah Bethea Pierre Medor Medor C. "Tricky" Stewart - 3:30
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