Album Review – ‘X’ by Chris Brown

Artists included in the album; Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, R Kelly, Brandy, Akon, Trey Songz, Usher, Tyga, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj

On the 12th September 2014, Chris Brown released his sixth studio album X (RCA Records). After releasing his self- titled debut album in 2005, Brown burst onto the RnB scene with promise and scope – the album peaked at number 2 in the US ‘Billboard 200’. Brown’s second album Exclusive, which spawned in 2007, was another success and included hit singles “With You” and “Forever”. The album was certified double platinum by the RIAA. Unfortunately, however, Brown’s career took a sharp turn for the worse. In 2009 Brown pleaded guilty to assault against singer Rihanna, with whom he was sharing an intimate relationship with. He was sentenced to five years of probation and six months community service. His reputation was seemingly ruined. At the end of 2009 Brown released the album Graffiti which was received well by the media. From 2011-12 Brown released F.A.M.E, which earned Brown ‘Best RnB Album’ at the 54th Grammy awards, and in 2012 he released Fortune which was quite frankly uninspiring and didn’t particularly impress.

Chris Brown is one of the music industry’s great talents, but, unfortunately, I feel he hasn’t delivered to date. His thuggish past casts an opaque shadow over his talents, and many are in anticipation for the moment when Brown recreates the Off the Wall or the Justified album which young stars Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake were able to create to launchtheir careers into music royalty. Can X do that?

The album itself is made up of 21 tracks, including the hit singles “Loyal” and “Fine China”. The track “Loyal” took over clubs and was the song of the summer. The arrogant lyrics and swanky beat together appealed to thousands across the globe. The first track in the album, the title-track “X”, really sets the tone – the honest lyrics with beats created by Diplo combine to move Brown’s music more to the pop side of RnB and create an upbeat and exciting start to the album. The Michael Jackson inspired “Add Me In” is another song worth listening to, with suave lyrics and an old school feel to the song. Further on in the album, Brown’s music turns deeper and more emotional. The song “Autumn Leaves ft. Kendrick Lamar” not only shows off Brown’s vocal abilities but is symphonically portrayed as the lyrics would suggest. We see another side to Brown’s egotistic lyrics and this is further demonstrated in the “Lady in The Glass Dress” interlude and “Don’t Be Gone Too Long ft. Ariana Grande”. The remainder of the album consolidates a more mature character, however Brown’s inability to cut songs has cost him dearly. Songs such as “Came to Do” and “Drunk Texting” give off a misogynistic vibe and fail to excite, and “Body Shots” feels completely out of place and ruins what is a otherwise a solid album.

It could be said that is another disappointment for Chris Brown as it doesn’t strike the standards set by iconic artists in the past, but I feel as though it shows a step forward in Brown’s development as an artist. I could sense more emotion and maturity in some of the songs which are the backbone of the albums success and are, hopefully, a sign of things to come.

Score – 7.5/10

This article was written by Ayush Joshi


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