X is Grammy worthy. Without a doubt Chris Brown’s best work to date.
Anybody that knows me knows how much of a big fan I am of Chris Brown, and while I am not blindly loyal to him, he is my favourite artist. His last album “Fortune” was overly disappointing in my eyes, with only the five singles (Turn Up The Music, Don’t Judge Me, Till I Die, Sweet Love, Don’t Wake Me Up) plus “2012” making the album bearable, to put it kindly. His R&B roots had taken a backseat as he headed more towards Dance/Pop which is where his commercial success has mainly been. Understandable considering many have not bought his albums since that famous Rihanna incident.
However, when Chris first mentioned the concept and approach he took to “X” in an interview last year before the release of the first single “Fine China”, I was very excited as he planned to bring back the real R&B that made his first album such a success almost ten years ago, and I thought this could be his best album yet. And he hasn’t disappointed. When he won a Grammy for F.A.M.E in 2011, I thought the album was very good, his best since his debut, but not Grammy worthy. “X” is Grammy worthy. Without a doubt, “X” is Chris Brown’s best work to date.
Chris Brown’s repertoire has never been shy of hit singles, with “Loyal” being the best example of this, reaching 100 million views and selling over 1 million copies without any promotion apart from a music video (because Brown was serving time in jail). But for me personally, when judging Brown’s music as a whole collection of songs, he makes better choices when it comes to his mixtapes rather than his albums, with: X Files, Fan of a Fan and In My Zone (1&2) all being well received critically as well as by fans. When it comes to “X” Chris’s song choices are spot on, with every song not only being well written, but also well performed, reminiscent of the early years of his career, but with evident growth.
For years people have being saying that real R&B died in the nineties and early 2000’s, well, Chris Brown is on a mission to bring it back with a vengeance, with a little help from his friends. The album is feature heavy with the likes of: Lil Wayne, Tyga, Usher, Rick Ross, Trey Songz, R Kelly, Akon, Kendrick Lamar, Jhene Aiko, Nicki Minaj, Brandy and the late Aaliyah as well as unaccredited vocals from Ariana Grande. All huge names. But yet the album still doesn’t feel overcrowded.
The album is well balanced with the radio club friendly tracks such as “Loyal” and “Love More”, as well as the usual R&B slow jams such as “Songs on 12 Play” and “Drown In It”. The Michael Jackson influence is also evident in tracks such as “Add Me In” and “Fine China”, while songs like “Time to Love” have an old school feel about them. The growth in Chris’ music is there for all to see as his songwriting has even improved from the days of Graffiti and Exclusive, as shown in songs such as “Do Better” and “Autumn Leaves”. He said he wanted this album to special, and no one can deny that it is. The potential he showed all those years ago is finally beginning to come to fruition.
“All your girls think that I ain’t shit, and they’re the same ones lost in the club! Them bitches are basic!”
Chris Brown’s vocal range is something that has often been questioned by critics, but he shows impressive range throughout the album, with the interlude “Lady In A Glass Dress” being as good an example as any. My personal favourite after first hearing the album is “Do Better” because I’d heard a lot of snippets from the song previously, so it was good to hear the full track. Definitely listen out for that!
After being delayed for over a year Chris Brown finally releases his highly anticipated sixth album on September 16th, and love him, or hate him, you definitely can’t ignore him! Widely regarded as being the most talented entertainer since MJ, his music has often taken a backseat to his personal life. That’s all about to change with his latest offering, and long may it last #TeamBreezy
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