ELLIOT LEE HAZEL Chris Brown's latest album will satisfy fans, but is unlikely to be a huge success.
ELLIOT LEE HAZEL
Chris Brown’s latest album will satisfy fans, but is unlikely to be a huge success.

★★☆☆☆

The past few years for Chris Brown have been full of turmoil, legal woes and well-deserved public backlash. His terrible publicity caused many to forget that he was, or arguably is, one of the most talented artists in the music sphere. His talent in creating radio hits and his dancing and singing abilities are matched by very few in the industry, contributing to the hype surrounding his fifth studio album.

However, because of his time in jail, the release of this album, “X,” had been severely delayed. It’s finally out, but if one is looking for a groundbreaking and renewed Chris Brown, one will be sorely disappointed.

There is nothing particularly spectacular about this album. Despite this being his fifth studio album, his subject matter has stayed stagnant, with no new musical direction and an unvarying singing style, to say the least. Several of the tracks on the album are old singles that have been out for almost a year. The album as a whole is a mesh of trendy pop, stereotypical topic matter and several lackluster singles. However, he has a few tracks that manage to display the talent of this young star.

Arguably, one of the best aspects of this new release are the collaborations. Chris Brown teams up with Trey Songz, Kendrick Lamar, Jhené Aiko, R. Kelly and several others in the album. “Songs on 12 Play,” featuring Trey Songz, is one of the more notable tracks. While there is not anything particularly special about it, both Trey Songz and Chris Brown are ladies’ men, so the sexual tension and innuendos are dialed up in this track. While Trey Songz’ and Chris Brown’s voices complement each other well, they are able to maintain their own identity, something that tends to be difficult in duets. This track gives a little hint of what to expect from their future joint tour.

“Autumn Leaves,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, is one of the most tastefully produced songs on the album. The song has a vibe as if it were on OVO’s label. Brown’s voice is stripped down, sincere and there is an emotional connection beyond sex.

He croons, “If you leave this time I feel that you’d be gone for good/ So I hold on like leaves and fall to what is left.” Kendrick Lamar’s excellent lyricism and capturing storytelling just puts the finishing touch on the track.

“Drunk Texting,” featuring Jhené Aiko, is a probable radio hit. The strong bass, the catchy hook and Aiko’s hypnotic voice gives the song all the ingredients for it to be a chart-topper.

Other well done tracks are “See You Around” and “Don’t Be Gone Too Long.” “See You Around” is a simple, feel-good pop track without all of the extra production associated with the rest of the album. “Don’t Be Gone Too Long” opens with Brown’s deep voice creating a dark and mellow ambience. This electropop song is a good example of incorporating different music trends while still maintaining a tasteful track.

All in all, die-hard Chris Brown fans will support him no matter what. However, the album as a whole is rather boring and does not showcase anything new from the troubled star.

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