By Kieran Graulich
For the past few weeks, I’ve felt a little guilty attacking bands that I actually like. No matter how bad “Risk” and “St. Anger” are, it doesn’t give me any pleasure to criticize my childhood heroes. So, for this week, I decided that maybe I should pick an easier target for the column.
Let’s talk about Chris Brown.
Singer, rapper, and all-around horrible person Chris Brown has had a pretty hard time getting his career to where it used to be after he was arrested for beating his girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009 – which is fine with me; I don’t necessarily want my pop music made by a domestic abuser. One would think that by 2012 and three albums later, maybe Chris Brown, if he wanted to stay in the limelight, would have changed his ways an artist and a generally awful human being.
“Fortune,” the follow-up to 2009’s “Fame,” is a showcase of the pure shallowness of Chris Brown’s persona, with his most forgettable songs paired with (arguably) his most despicable lyrics. What makes this album even more unlikable is the fact that, if this were a purely instrumental album, it would probably be fantastic. Chris’ producers, particularly Polow da Don and Kennedy, really outdo themselves on “Fortune” (because I guess someone had to try on this album, right?). What ruins this album and it’s pretty fantastic production is completely forgettable songwriting and awful, awful lyrics.
Let’s look at the song “Don’t Judge Me.” First of all, no. Second of all, this is legitimately a song about Chris Brown being caught in the midst of cheating on his significant other (or at least being with someone close to the time that he and his significant other got together) and trying to tell her that it isn’t worth fighting about because “it could get ugly/Before it gets beautiful.” Okay, who let Chris use that lyric?! Shouldn’t he have an entire team of producers and writers to make sure he doesn’t look abusive?
“Fortune” is full of songs of similar lyrical quality, from telling a girl he’s going to buy her things simply to get her out of her pants on “Strip,” or simply demanding a girl take her clothes off on “Sweet Love.” Actually, the majority of these songs are about complimenting and doing nice things for a girl just for sex, which does marvels for the public face of hip hop and R&B, a genre which people stereotype as only focusing on the top of sex and money. And of course, this album debuted #1 on the Billboard 100, because America is a great place.
With these songs comes almost no memorable songs, with the middle of the album succumbing to absolute inanity. Almost every track on “Fortune” is, at heart, a bland R&B ballad with a lazy hook, lazy melody, lazy everything, masked with very nice production. However, when one gets past the production and Chris’ nice (albeit very overproduced) voice, it becomes apparent that there is almost no substance to this album, and whatever substance there is, it’s absolutely rotten.
Best Moments: “Don’t Wake Me Up,” “Trumpet Lights”
Worst Moments: “Strip,” “Don’t Judge Me”
Kieran Graulich is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.