CHRIS BROWN X ALBUM REVIEW
By: Lethiwe Mdluli
X is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Chris Brown. The album was released on September 16, 2014 by RCA Records. Fans of the troubled superstar have been waiting patiently for this one.
On April 29, 2013, Brown announced a release date of July 16 for X but it was pushed back due to his management. A new release date was set for August 20, 2013. However in September 2013, it was revealed that the album had been pushed back to November 19, 2013. In November, Brown was sentenced to an anger management rehabilitation center for 3 months, putting another hold on the release of X.
To hold fans over until the X album dropped, Brown released a six-track mixtape entitled X Files on November 19, 2013, which was a bit of a letdown for his loyal fans. In the mixtape Brown attempted to rap in most of his songs with features from rappers such as Busta Rhymes and Ludarcris. The “X-Files” EP also displayed Breezy as being an above average rapper whose writing skills seem to suddenly abandon him as a Pop/R&B songwriter.
As the fans waited for Brown’s album, his personal life was making waves in the media. The prince of RnB finally brought out the long awaited album and in an interview with Ebony, Brown spoke of taking his music in a different direction and changing his sound from pop-infused and sexually explicit, to a more mature, soulful and vulnerable theme for the album. He most definitely achieved this with his music sounding more mature and different from his previous work. Brown revisited old RnB styles on a song he did with Trey Songz titled “songs on 12 play.” This raunchy cut pays homage to R. Kelly’s ‘s brazen 1993 debut album 12 Play.
In a track titled, ‘Drown In It’, where Breezy actually features R. Kelly, the pair crudely sing about swimming in the metaphorical waters of whoever they’re courting. It’s a bit of an odd pairing considering Kelly’s history with women and also Brown’s. The song takes you back to old RnB times where lyrics were more important than beats. Songs like Stereotype, Drunk Texting and Body Shots have a more upbeat sound, and they are more suited for the club scene. The singer gave us a twist with some pop, electro sounds that get you dancing and singing along.
“Autumn Leaves,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, was not meant for the club scene though. Fine China, an instantly catchy tribute to Michael Jackson, has similarities with songs from his previous albums where he pays tribute to the King of pop. Brown’s most honest moment comes at the top of the album, on the title track (X). He sings, “I can make you a believer if I turn the nonsense down.” It’s safe to say that this is a man who knows he’s got to get his life together and has a lot to prove to himself and his fans.
The album as a whole is very good. Brown did a good job fusing old-school RnB with a new upbeat style. His fans will be very pleased with this one. The only thing holding this very talented young man back will be his lack of skills when it comes to separating his personal life with his professional one. When he finds the balance, he has the potential to become an extra-ordinary artist.