“If you can’t be with the one you love, it’s okay…”

Toni Braxton, the contralto in command of one of my all-time favorite voices in music ever, and also the singer unintentionally responsible for the career of Britney Spears thanks to an unused demo (seriously, it’s true!), has mercifully returned to us in 2018 – and we may all breathe again.

Following the release of her latest single “Deadwood,” and just ahead of the release of her forthcoming ninth studio album due out on March 23, the incredibly titled Sex and Cigarettes, Toni’s just dropped her newest song: “Long As I Live” – and it’s a slow-burning, soulful stunner.

The latest offering from her first solo studio album in nearly a decade finds the legendary singer mourning the loss of a lover to another above a moody midtempo pulse and dreamy synths twinkling in the background. She’s setting him free – but not without some bitterness.

Everybody’s talking about you and her together / How could you do that to me?” she trembles.

Toni knows a thing or two about bringing on the heartache with the torch songs – when’s a good man going to un-break her heart once and for all? – and this angst anthem’s certainly no exception.

Now I’m trying not to lose my mind and start to cry, but I can tell that you love her…you really love her.” Gutted, truly.

By the time the song comes to its cathartic outro, Toni really starts to let loose with those growling ad libs across whines of electric guitar while bidding adieu – “Woo!” – to the boy once and for all.

“Long As I Live,” aside from being endlessly replay-friendly, is also one of several songs Toni co-wrote and produced on the upcoming album – which only makes it all the more impressive.

To say that the general public are sleeping on Toni’s most recent releases, Pulse and beyond, is an understatement: they’re in a coma. Consider this a wake-up call.

“Long As I Live” was released on February 9. (iTunes)

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

You can also subscribe to MuuTunes on Apple Music.