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Neon Reviews: Chris Brown – F.A.M.E.

Chris Brown - F.A.M.E.

Trying to get his career back on track was hard for Chris Brown, who saw his last album, Graffiti, suffer low sales and get ripped to shreds by many critics. If the critics weren’t panning the man behind the music for his wrongs, they were vexed by Graffiti’s lack of a cohesive direction.

It’s true. Graffiti was pulled in many different directions, but understandably so. Between a private life in turmoil, a busted public image in serious need of repair, lamenting said busted image, holding onto the growing pop audience he captured with his biggest hit to date, “Forever,” expressing himself as a maturing (i.e. sexual) male, and playing to the contemporary R&B fans he’s had since his debut in 2005, Chris had a lot of ground to cover. It left Graffiti garbled with quasi-apology records, woe-is-me records, break-up records, bedroom records, and the expected radio-ready party records.

On his latest effort, F.A.M.E., anything having to do with that fateful night in February 2009 and his now tarnished reputation is left out of the music’s content and piled into the double meaning of the title (F.A.M.E. stands for both “forgiving all my enemies” and “fans are my everything”) so he could focus solely on Chris Brown: The Artist.

The musical schizophrenia, genre-wise, remains, but it’s 100% intentional and done much better this time around. (It should be noted that even with its ups and downs, Graffiti wasn’t a bad record.) Chris slips and slides through uptempo dance jams and melodic R&B-tinged grooves as effortlessly as he glides across a dancefloor on the set, resulting in what is easily his best album yet. His pop side is its glossiest on “Next To You,” a tender duet with fellow pop powerhouse Justin Bieber, he skips through Michael Jackson-Off-The-Wall-style disco on the silky “Say It With Me,” channels pop rival Justin Timberlake on bass-heavy banger “Oh My Love,” makes a strong play as Busta Rhymes‘ rapid-spitting apprentice on “Look At Me Now,” also featuring Lil Wayne, and touches “Forever”-esque Euro-pop greatness with “Yeah 3x.”

F.A.M.E.’s finest moment comes on the Timothy Bloom-produced “All Back,” a stirring, live instrument-driven track about deep anguish and regret over love lost.  With all of the musical cocktails Brown tries, “All Back” is a stunning Rock&Blues mix we haven’t heard before from him. The song’s lyrics present a sort of strange irony considering his situation. “I want it all back,” Brown belts mournfully over the soaring chorus. With an album as solid as F.A.M.E., career-wise at least, Brown will definitely have it all back.

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  1. ANONYMOUS says:

    ” BEST OF THE BEST!!!!!! ” & Deserves ALBUM of the YEAR!!!! 2011 / #BREEZYDOESIT!!!!!!

  2. I got 3 copies of the album…. I love every song on the cd “THE CD IS AMAZING”

  3. Great review of an amazing album.

  4. prd9601 says:

    If you get the Fan Edition he shows up at your house and gives you a smack up side yo head!

  5. King Makers says:

    Graffiti was better than many albums that sold more but thats gone now although i just ordered a few copies for my sister abroad cos i believe its a pearl, something the world will one day wonder how they allowed such an album to slip through their fingers. As for the critics, they reflected their judgment of his life on his career, a tinted & bias judgements that couldn’t separate the man from his art. Immediately i saw their analysis of Graffiti, i knew that was a pure lie.

    They only gave wishful reviews & thats really unprofessional. They couldn’t keep their opinions to themselves. They even claimed to represent the views of the entire public without even doing a survey. People have spoken now & the media should do the listening now & stop guessing. Its such a shame that the entire media industry failed to bias the public & its a lesson to never really believe the press cos they lie or exaggerate or a sometimes very bias.

    Graffiti was good, Fame is good but his mistake was bad & his apologized to the victim & has taken his punishment so everyone else mind your own business or if you are also a victim, seek apology from your own villain cos Chris Brown can not answer for every man/ kid thats made a mistake. He is not gonna take all the sins in the world away & if you don’t like him still, why stalk him? why write about him? why comment on his posts? why why why?

    on a great note, its unusual to find that an artist do well without any media backing, it takes true love to gain such a support contrary to what the ignorant critics predicted. Mistakes are there to make use wiser & its certainly has helped him achieve a dream & he is keeping his girl happy.

  6. That sh*t is wack and you know it! says:

    All of you brain dead b*tches are just that,BRAIN DEAD,and if it’s so damn good,then why is it sitting at the bottom of the itune charts!You can buy eight copies a piece,and it still won’t help the f*ggot! Yall are enablers,and that woman beater will never get the help he so desperately needs.#LOSING. L.A.M.E sounds like buble gum corny BS.Next!

    • LMAO But u wasted YOUR time clicking HIS post, right? Losing? He’s #1 in the country boo. Losing? He has so many songs on Hot 100 gaining heavy airplay. Losing? He drew in over 19 million viewers on DWTS–the highest its ever had. AND he’s receiving RAVE reviews on his performances! Maybe you should #sitdown in a corner somewhere and stop the #hate.

      I LOVE this review! One of the BEST ones I’ve seen so far. I agree, “All back” is a WINNER and better be released after these 2 he just released. LOVEEE me sum Breezy. I bought a copy of FAME on iTunes, and an actual CD at the store, and then I ordered 2 more–one clean version for the kids. They LOVE them some Breezy too! Chris needs to keep it up and stay focused–all attempts by the devil have FAILED

  7. Great musician, great music…
    That’s what the focus should be…
    Chris Brown is easily one of the best out there right now…so so talented…
    And I think it’s about time the past was treated as it is…the past…and laid to rest…
    Nobody has the right to keep judging him based on a mistake he made two years ago, and has repeatedly apologized for…
    Come on, we ALL make mistakes…even worse than his at times…
    That said…I love the music…that’s what the industry is really about…

  8. Graffiti was a great album and so is F.A.M.E,you cant compare the two imo

  9. I love F.A.M.E!!!

  10. I think he did something really special with this album, clearly people know it because it’s topping the charts! Buy the album and see for yourself, here’s the link :) http://bit.ly/eiIIkx

  11. dladystarr says:

    Graffiti is a GREAT cd and F.A.M.E. is equally a GREAT cd. i love all the cds Chris Brown put out and will continue to buy his cds in the future. He never disappoints. For all who missed out on GRAFFITI deluxe please go buy it and give it a chance. i think u will love at least 5 or 6 songs off of there.

  12. Anonymous says:

    F.A.M.E. is a solid album, but limited. I relish the ballads, Chris Brown’s forte – they REALLY show off that voice he has and how it has deepened and mellowed – still so heartfelt. The best: Up to You, All Back, Shoulda Kissed You, Wet the Bed. I’m less into the techno and dance numbers; they’re very good, not great. And its too bad the four big hits came BEFORE the album – makes it feel less fresh. I skip over those old songs – which doesn’t leave you with a lot to listen too. Grafitti was the masterpiece – I’m glad the Grammy committee saw that, tho buyers didn’t.

  13. I agree with comments that recognize Grafitti as a masterpiece – love almost all of its many songs. FAME does feel more limited -but again I agree that the crooning is incredible on those slower songs. My concern: where is the next smash single? I see fair questions raised about the unoriginal She Ain’t You. I think the best piece is Beg For It – but its too similar to NoBS – and needs just as many bleep-outs. The other ballads are awesome but I think too slow to be big hits. Beautiful People – great tune, but so lyrically limited. Maybe Paper Scissors Rock. But there’s no Forever there. I’m hopeful for the next album (supposedly around the corner).

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