On Tuesdays, we’ll take a look at some new releases for the week, including a spotlight review. This week’s is the latest from Virginian Chris Brown.
Chris Brown, “Fortune”
There was a time when Chris Brown seemed as if he might develop into a charismatic crooner. But anyone who has followed his post-Rihanna career knows that it’s all about the club-stompers and the crude factor for Brown.
And on his fifth studio album, “Fortune,” it’s all about the production and synthesizers, too.
There is nothing on the release to distinguish Brown lyrically or vocally, but that doesn’t seem to matter to him. As he tells us in “Bassline,” right after name checking his hometown of tiny Tappahannock, Va., he doesn’t give a “flying mother–-“ what anyone thinks of him.
That’s a good thing, since he mostly comes off as an immature horndog. Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa trade the most profane verses on “Till I Die,” but Brown has plenty to say over a heartbeat drum on “Biggest Fan,” on which he references Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” then tells his bed mate that “No is not an option” and “I’m gonna take what’s mine.”
Seriously, ladies, what is the appeal here?
He does turn semi-serious on the lilting ballad, “Don’t Judge Me,” pleading, “I’ve been through this so many times. Can we change the subject?”
But with collaborators including Danja and Polow da Don, the emphasis is on the beats, and many times, Brown succeeds, such as the fizzy “Turn up the Music,” his most appealing song in years, and “Don’t Wake Me Up,” an anthemic Auto Tune fest.
Judging by recent album sales, the Grammys and last weekend’s BET Awards, many seem to have forgiven Brown for his personal transgressions. That’s fine. But when will he start revealing anything meaningful in his music?
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