Chris Brown
X


3.8
excellent

Review

by oh trudy, youre with the meanest boy in the hills STAFF
November 23rd, 2014 | 73 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Drown in it, "like a male mermaid."

The standard edition of Chris Brown's sixth studio LP, X swells at 17 tracks, despite the notable exclusion of "Fine China." That song, which showcased CB at his best (i.e., meticulously-executed MJ worship), was supposed to be the album's lead single (once upon a time, back when the album had been slated for a July 2013 release). "Fine China" isn't even the only casualty of the record's numerous delays: the comparatively inferior (but still notable due to its feature) "Don't Think They Know," as well as "Love More," are also absent (although all three songs are available as bonus tracks on the deluxe edition).

Now, if you're wondering why I am even discussing this, or lamenting tracks that are not actually on the album, my point here is simple: this was not supposed to be good. Brown, riding a perceptible artistic crash-and-burn before bottoming out with 2012's Fortune, had to push the album back so many times that by the time it came out, it didn't even fit within his purported (idiotic) numerological reason for naming his sixth album X ("It's the Roman numeral for 10. 5/5/89 is my birthday: 5 plus 5 is 10, and this is my tenth year since I got into music. "X" is the 24th letter in the alphabet, and I will turn 24 when this album comes out."). This was the longest stretch in between records for Brown.

On top of all that, Brown is still kind of a… a dick? Even keeping this conversation within the bounds of the music, "Loyal," the record’s most successful single, is a lyrical portrait of everything reviled about Chris Brown's public persona. I'll assume you know what I’m talking about (due to the track's ubiquity) and that you'll understand when I say it's almost laughable (fwiw: I say "almost" because this has not been something that he has shied away from in the years since becoming R&B's biggest villain).

Well, despite all that, and despite all of the reasons you may have to root against Chris Brown (and here I’ll put forth the obligatory reviewers’ disclaimer that those reasons are yours to curate and nobody really can blame you for doing so), this is a pretty strong output, at least taking the sum of its parts. If you were so inclined, you could cherry-pick a fantastic ten-track album out of X, and to me that’s a win.

The title track opens the album, and purports to set the tone both lyrically and musically: "If you're only as good as the company you keep/Then I'm-a blame you for what they say about me", Brown declares before Diplo, frenzied and furious, makes himself known. Not that there is anything remotely interesting about someone like Diplo's presence here, or the electropop sensibilities that powder the album overall-- it's not unwelcome, but it's certainly not adventurous, either.

Probably the funniest song on the album, lyrically at least, is "Add Me In," which is full of lazily conceived middle school math joke come-ons. It's corny but light, catchy as hell, and a definite contrast to “Loyal,” which immediately follows it. Not that "Loyal" is bad-- despite what I wrote above, the song is a fucking banger-- it's just that there's a palpable snap-back to the more stern themes Brown had laid out in the introductory track.

What the remainder of X offers is largely derived from Brown's collaborators, and perhaps the delayed release contribute to the album's diversity. Strong guest spots from Brandy, Usher, and Kendrick Lamar complement Brown well. In a nice little calculation, Brown and Trey Songz collaborate on "Songs on 12 Play" right before R. Kelly joins Brown on "Drown in It." The former, a broader homage to R. Kelly's earlier work, gives context to the latter, which feels either bizarre or perfectly appropriate, if you have kept up with R. Kelly's career.

Whether you look at X as a 17 (or 21) song double album hit factory, or as a flailing grasp at frustrated artistry, it is underwhelming in both respects. It is simply a good collection of good songs, put together by talented folks to showcase their obvious talents.



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user ratings (59)
2.2
poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2014


4491 Comments


you're missing an apostrophe in the first sentence staff NERD theacademy

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2014


31701 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

SHH STILL EDITING ALL MY TYPOS













(thanks haha)

thacoconut94
November 23rd 2014


1497 Comments


Nice review, it's not black metal but I can give this a go haha

aaanndyy
November 23rd 2014


25 Comments


"It is simply a good collection of good songs, put together by talented folks to showcase their obvious talents" ...and make a shit ton of cash haha. sweet review, i'll check some of the tracks you mentioned, hope they're better than loyal though

HolidayKirk
November 23rd 2014


1722 Comments


This is a good review of an album that probably would have been really easy to hate.

rufinthefury
November 24th 2014


3102 Comments


Fine China isn't on the album? That's like his best song though.

Ocean of Noise
November 24th 2014


10818 Comments


You really need to make reviews more often man, this is pretty solid writing

amanwithahammer
November 24th 2014


585 Comments


The one case that comes to mind where I just cannot separate the music from the artist, sorry. He shouldn't even still have a career in popular music

Nice review, anyhow

amanwithahammer
November 24th 2014


585 Comments


Kind of reads like a 3.0 or something tho

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2014


31701 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

that's understandable i suppose, but i mean the dude is just talented...



also i don't know what a 3.0 is, really

treeqt.
November 24th 2014


16964 Comments


ye

amanwithahammer
November 24th 2014


585 Comments


3.0 is good but not great, I pretty just go by what it says haha. The review just kinda read like that to me, like a good set of songs and you have no real criticisms but you never say anything to make me feel like you think this is an excellent album

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2014


4491 Comments


nah Kiss Kiss is good but I'm still a firm believer in Run It. also that Chris Brown American Superhero is one of the best things on YT

RadicalEd
November 24th 2014


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

how about no.



This repugnant little shit stain needs to stop making his below average "wanna be usher" dirt.

"kind of a dick" is the nicest description I've ever heard for Chris Brown.





treeqt.
November 24th 2014


16964 Comments


no chill bruh

RadicalEd
November 24th 2014


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Alright guy I never met. Love you as well.

Cygnatti
November 24th 2014


33043 Comments


not sure why him never meeting you invalidates his opinion.

especially considering you've likely never met chris brown.

Digging: Sewerslvt - Draining Love Story

RadicalEd
November 24th 2014


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I meant I never met him on sputnik. Otherwise you'd be correct.

Cygnatti
November 24th 2014


33043 Comments


still doesn't explain why that invalidates his opinion.

especially considering you've never met chris brown on sputnik.

cryonetearforme
November 24th 2014


120 Comments


Surprised this guy didn't grace the Misogynistic Recs list



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