Chris Brown, “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” (RCA)
Chris Brown sure has some nerve, releasing a 45-song album when audience attention spans are notoriously short, while most artists agonize over trimming their set into a carefully curated bundle that precisely captures the latest evolution of their sound.
But, alas, Brown doesn’t seem concerned about attention spans or careful curation. And, to be fair, his sound has always been the sum of varying genres, each one sending him to the top of one chart or another. That said, with “Heartbreak on a Full Moon,” Brown performs like a one-man streaming service, and he’s got hits on every channel.
POP HIT BROWN
There’s “You Like,” with Brown sending radio friendly messages over an up-tempo, electronic beat. “I want you to dance because you feel beautiful inside, baby,” he sings. Add to that the similarly groove-inducing “If You’re Down,” ”Bite My Tongue,” ”Frustrated” and “This Way.” (That last one is, perhaps, the happiest sounding breakup song of the season.)
R&B BANGER BROWN
Not to be confused with the Rapper Persona Brown channel (more on that later), this set of tracks features the singer in his slinky R&B mode. Like the pop station, this, too, is good stuff. Please note: takeoff-your-clothes jam “Pull Up,” and the sonically tasty, but lyrically debatable “Covered In You.” ”A leak in your lovin, it’s on the verge of caving in.,” Brown croons, before adding, “go ‘head and drench me with your body.”
RAPPER PERSONA BROWN
This is Brown at his least romantic. Like a rapper would, he brags about “a hundred on my wrist” on the Usher and Gucci Mane-assisted single “Party,” with its uber catchy hook. Brown weaves between rapping and singing, holding his own alongside Young Thug and Future on the down-tempo “High End.” And he goes heavier with his rap skills on “Sensei” and “Pills & Automobiles”; the result is respectable in both instances.
VERY VULNERABLE BROWN
Brown’s brashness melts away on songs like “Grass Ain’t Greener,” and his version of vulnerability is believable on the enchanting title track, the achy “Paradise,” the Donell Jones-inspired “Hope You Do” and the regret-laden “Enemy.” ”She was just one night/baby, you were my whole life,” he sings on the latter track. And Brown gets introspective about fame on “Yellow Tape.” ”Meeting with the devil,” he sings. “‘Here take this contract. Signature please. You can have it all, but your soul I’mma keep.'”
Brown is man of many vibes, and though elements of his personality and style are more pronounced on one track versus another, it all sounds like him. And in the case of “Heartbreak on a Full Moon,” perhaps Brown’s greatest feat is that he makes it all come together, and sound pretty good.
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