Chris Brown has had a rough past two years (alone the past two days). Not only did he lose Rihanna in a publically-scrutinized domestic dispute, he experienced his inevitable blacklisting. After much pruning and dancing for his life on BET, Brown struck gold with the other music industry – mixtapes. He found himself with his first #1 single since “With You,” and prepared his return as R&B’s golden boy.
F.A.M.E. (F.ans A.re M.y E.verything or F.orgiving A.ll M.y E.nemies) is a strong, varied album of up-tempo R&B tracks, perfected, potential Pop hits & the random ballad or two. It features production from an array of producers including, The Bizness, Diplo & Benny Benassi.
Lead by the force of hit singles “Deuces” and “No BS,” Brown doesn’t miss too many steps. “She Ain’t You” borrows wonderfully from SWV’s Michael Jackson-sampled “Right Here (Remix),” as Brown is stuck with choosing between Ms. Right Now and his Ms. Right. The funk of “Say It With Me” also thumps with a dance floor, MJ energy. Even the dance-heavy “Yeah 3x” is legitimate in finding the perfect mix of sound lyrics and club-ready beats.
However, Brown’s slow side isn’t his strongest feat, but he manages to find a formula with the well-written Bieber duet “Next to You,” and the R&B ballad “Up to You.” Miscues include the all-style-no-substance “Look at Me Now,” and the juvenilely lewd, Ludacris collabo, “Wet the Bed,” but neither dull the promise of the album as a whole.
While the album is proof of Brown’s return to glory professionally, recent events – specifically a tantrum on “Good Moring America” – can only tell if F.A.M.E. for the young prince of R&B is short-lived.
Written by Lorin Williams