That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.

Toni Braxton Unbreak My Heart

Release Date: July 10, 1996

Track Listing

  1. Un-Break My Heart (Album Version)
  2. Un-Break My Heart (Frankie Knuckles Radio Mix)
  3. Un-Break My Heart (Frankie Knuckles Franktidrama Mix)
  4. Un-Break My Heart (Soul-Hex Anthem Vocal)
  5. Un-Break My Heart (Soul-Hex No Sleep Beats)

Review

Toni Braxton? How many of you remember her before she became one of those fleeting has-been superstars who do “exclusive engagements” in fancy Las Vegas hotels? Way back in the mid to late 90’s she was the hot shot R&B diva of the moment and Unbreak My Heart (from her second album Secrets) solidified her status as an upper echelon diva of that time period. It also ended up becoming her signature song as she progressed through her career.

The song was written by Dianne Warren and produced by David Foster. Normally that combo means “boooring” to most people and the track in its original form is a power pop ballad meant to tug at your heart strings. And it sure did as the song rose to the top of the Billboard charts and stayed there for 11 weeks. That was probably mostly thanks to the emotional vocals of Miss Braxton taking the song to another level.

I was in my last year of college when this was released and was only in the infancy of really mixing dance music. I actively searched for the European CD single of this song since it contained the majority of the remixes I was interested in. I’m more fond of the Frankie Knuckles remixes than others.

His interpretation seems to give off the closest feeling to the original version of the song. Although, really you can’t go wrong with any of the tracks on this version of the CD single. It’s a shame I didn’t have turntables back then because I would have loved to have this on wax as well.

Of course the ballad version is great too. Toni Braxton sure knows how to sell heartbreak that’s for sure and from what I remember the live performances of this song were pretty damn good. But really, for me the whole interest was getting a hold of the remixes to play with in my early sets. Suffice it to say I didn’t have the skill level back then to work the mixes properly.

But I’m glad I kept the CD, because now? Well yeah. I could drop this easily into any of my sets without losing a beat. Plus it was a bitch to find and would have been a waste of good music if I pawned it off for nothing.

Then again some of you probably aren’t dance music DJs so perhaps this song has a deeper emotional bond to some sort of lost love from many moons ago. I’m sure some of you older folks out there have this somewhere on some breakup mix tape from back in the days of your wasted youth. Hopefully hearing this doesn’t bring back too many painful memories. But really, you should be be over it by now don’t you think?

For you youngins, take heed. This is what great R&B actually sounds like. Get yourself an education.

Secrets

iTunes