Single Review: Toni Braxton “Just Be A Man About It”

Just Be A Man About It
Year: 2001
Album: The Heat

The emotionally unavailable people are usually the ones to string their significant others along. Personal topics are off-limits and only shallow conversations are allowed. Venturing into a personal topic could cause the person to run.

In “Just Be A Man About It,” the second single from the Heat, Toni Braxton faces this same situation. She wants her boyfriend to just be honest with her and quit giving her excuses for his bad behavior. The single, more of a conversation set to music than a song, opens with a phone call to Braxton from her boyfriend (Dr. Dre.) He tells her that “I just gotta lot of things on my mind” and “it’s not you, it’s me…it’s really me.” She wants to know “what exactly does it mean/when you need your space/just don’t make no excuses” In the chorus, a frustrated Braxton tells him to “just be a man about it.”

The lyrics seem to be pulled from real breakups in the songwriters’ (John’ta Austin, Teddy Bishop, Bryan Michael Cox, and Toni Braxton) past. The normal breakup lines are put into context, which makes them authentic instead of cliché. In Dr. Dre’s phone call, he uses conversational words like “um” and “you know.” Allowing fumbled words does two things: it makes the phone call true to life and actually makes Dr. Dre’s character human. Men in these types of songs usually don’t have a voice or if they do, they are proud of it. Here, Dr. Dre’s character deserves a little sympathy. He is written to be somewhat vulnerable, not solely as a jerk.

Since the song is lyrics-oriented, the music hardly moves at all. Slow-paced, the single doesn’t pick up until Braxton’s bridge. By then, the song’s nearly over. “Just Be A Man About It” is good, but not great. It needs better music behind the lyrics.

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