You know real R&B is a thing of the past when proclaimed R&B singers put out an electronic dance album. When Chris Brown’s not singing about sleazy one-night stands he’s blaming someone else for his self-inflicted shortcomings on this immensely impersonal album.
In the opening song titled “X,” he sings, “if you’re only as good as the company you keep/I’m gonna blame you for what they say about me.” Further into the song, a techno beat develops and builds up into a noisy, sporadic mess. Seventy percent of the tracks on the album mimic this style, none of which really protrude or give you that unexplainably pleasant feeling when you know you’ve found a good song. Actually, after listening to the whole hour and 18 minutes of the album straight through, I found that songs became indistinguishable. At a quarter of a way through the album, the word “sex” was mentioned at least 15 times, and then I lost count. Speaking of such activities, the track “Songs on 12 Play” featuring Trey Songz – a dismal attempt at paying homage to R&B legend R Kelly – had a smooth, 90’s feel to it, but was lyrically incompetent to Brown’s prior works. Songz’s robust, powerhouse vocals made Brown’s thin and airy voice seem child-like in comparison.
As a phenomenal dancer, singer, songwriter, producer and artist, much more is expected of Brown. Deemed as one of our best performers, so the “X” tour will probably be outstanding. However, no matter how much you want to like it because it’s him, the low-quality, rushed feeling of this album is apparent.