Toni Braxton is one of the most recognisable names and voices in R&B music. In 2001, after some turmoil with her record label and her third album The Heat, she released her Christmas album Snowflakes.
It would be more fitting to call Snowflakes a holiday album, or rather, a seasonal/winter album because, except a few Christmas references here and there, it’s more of a typical Toni Braxton with some holiday input.
The album starts with the dramatic bells and strings intro of “Holiday Celebrate,” a midtempo R&B number co-written by Toni’s sister Tamar (who also sings the background vocals prominently) about celebrating the holidays with a loved one and all the joys that come with it.
Miss Toni then pairs up with Shaggy for a holiday escape to Jamaica on the notes of the tropical-sounding “Christmas in Jamaica.” The guitar-laced bop bears the signature sensual Toni Braxton vocals, which set the tone for the album throughout.
“Snowflakes of Love” brings us back to more arctic temperatures and its romantic Jazz vibe recalling the great cinematic Christmas classics from the 1940s such as “Winter Wonderland.” The Jazz continues with a brilliant rendition of Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
By the middle of the album we’re back into Toni’s territory with “Santa Please…” a sensual plead for a romantic getaway and “This Time Next Year” which enlists Babyface on a heartbreaking ballad with the flawless vocals we’re used to hearing on Miss Braxton’s bombastic ballads.
After a cozy rendition of “The Christmas Song,” the album closes with a new orchestral version of “Snowflakes of Love” and a Trackmasters remix of “Christmas in Jamaica” to spice things up even further with a harder beat.
Overall Snowflakes is a coherent album if you like the sultry and lush vibes Toni is known to offer. The original songs are strong, but they lack the Christmas mood and are more of Toni Braxton songs with a hint of cheer. Still a recommended listen!