Album Review: Chris Brown - X
I decided I wanted to do my own review on X. I tried to keep the bias as far away as possible, and look at the album objectively. I’m still dutch, so I want apologize in advance for any grammar issues whatsoever.
Without urther ado, here is my review:
I should start off by saying “X” is his most cohesive effort since Exclusive. Ever since that LP dropped, Chris and his team somehow managed to put together albums without making much sense as far as a storyline or setting a mood. Now this doesn’t mean the albums were bad. Not at all actually. Because Graffiti & F.A.M.E were still extremely enjoyable and the standout records made up for whatever was missing. F.A.M.E being the most creative of the two, which deservedly ended up winning a grammy for best R&B album. Don’t get me wrong though, because personally, Graffiti is my all time favorite album of his. But looking at both projects separately and creatively, F.A.M.E simply holds the advantage. Fortune was another story, it contained elements of both projects, but failed to feel anything near being an upgrade. His vocals were great on Fortune, but the production lacked depth, soul and creativity. Which is why it feels like it was just there to be released so the fans would get some new music. It sure didn’t take Chris much time to start on X (previously Carpe Diem), and I think that says a lot about how he felt about Fortune.
The album starts off stronger than any of his previous efforts. X is a mix of R&B, progressive house and the current trend: electronic trap. And it works really well. Chris isn’t playing on this album. He is tired of the bullshit, being placed at the crime scene and the devil trying to get into his system. Yes motherfuckers, y’all really thought this shit was about Rihanna? Give me a break. Listen to the lyrics people. The drop is also misunderstood as far as it being part of the content of the song. “ why did he throw in this random drop” you ask? because that’s how Chris deals with the bullshit, by dancing and making music. 9/10
“Add Me In”
That bassline!!! Holy shit. Drum pattern on this song is very reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. The content isn’t anything like that song though. Chris’ wordplay is both clever and lowkey funny to me. But at the end of the day it’s good to hear Chris improving lyrically just as he did on the title track aswell. Add Me In is one of the standouts on X. 8.5/10.
I don’t have much to say about this song. I burned it in hell when I heard it the first couple of times but just like everyone else, I heard this song everywhere so I couldn’t avoid it. It’s grown on me now and I love the bass, especially when I’m driving around. I still think it could have had a harder knocking snare though. 7/10
This song is cute, reminds me of the old days a bit. The production lacks some creativity though. And Rick Ross really isn’t needed when you already have Usher featuring on the record. Would have been much more enjoyable if they sang together on the final verse. 7/10
“Songs on 12 Play”
This entire song is a tribute to R. Kelly. Cleverly dropping the titles of the latter’s album “12 Play” on the chorus and even copying some of his vocal runs and ad-libs. Production is very laid back and the added electric guitar coming in at the end is a nice addition to this bedroom banger. It’s an overall good song and the females will probably get wet when they do this one on their tour. 7.5/10
This should’ve been a bit longer. Not scoring it because it’s not long enough. It’s good though!
“Drown In It”
After the R. Kelly tributes on the previous records, the R&B legend actually makes a cameo on this slow jam. It’s more of a duet than it is a feature though and it’s nice to finally hear them on a track together (aside from the remix Chris put out years ago). There is a lot of commotion because of the title but I’m beyond all that shit. The production probably should have been a bit more versatile but it’s still not a bad song. Might take a couple listens though. 6.5/10
“Came To Do”
“When a rich n*gga wants you”, you get another song that sounds almost identical to the hit song i quoted. This “Loyal” remake is made out of the same bass and snares but features the now very irrelevant Akon who doesn’t add anything to the record. It’s probably the most generic sounding record X has, but it still works well as a club banger and it’s not bad when driving around either. 6.5/10
I especially like the lyrics and the bass on this record. I’m not too fond of the way Chris sings Stereotype though. 6/10
“Time For Love”
This is the Chris Brown everyone knows and loves. Some might say this sounds similar to “War For You”, but it’s a lot more innocent and far less autotuned. The piano, drums & lead synth reminiscent of the 80’s complement each other very well. This could have appeared on Fortune but I’m happy it’s on X. Only thing missing is a strong bridge but that doesn’t take away from the feel good vibe of this amazing song. 9/10 *my personal favorite*
“Lady In A Glass Dress”
Fuck you for making this an interlude Chris. How can such a beautiful song be so short? What went on in his head while putting this out? *sigh*…. No score.. still bloody amazing though
This is probably the most anticipated record off the album. At some point this was actually meant to become one of the first singles off of X but it never happened, which is a huge shame because this song is everything. The subtle guitar, the drums, the laid back vocals, the Kendrick feature.. it all works so well. This could become a classic for R&B/rap music because both artists flow extremely well on this beat. 9.5/10
Produced by Glass John, who also co-produced “Home” for Chris, this R&B collaboration featuring vocalist Brandy is another standout track on X. This record would have worked well on Brandy’s latest “Two Eleven” as well, as the theme on that album is very similar to this record. The production has a throwback feeling to it. Vocally and lyrically, the vulnerability of both singers really get to you once you understand the song. I’m willing to guess a lot of “professional” reviewers won’t even mention this song. 8.5/10
“See You Around”
Probably the most interesting record on the album. This song has that Mumford and Sons feeling as well as Avicci’s “Wake Me Up” and CB’s very own “Don’t Wake Me Up”. The acoustic guitar and the piano are beautifully executed. Chris regrets not loving a woman hard enough and reflects on his past with her. The bridge is actually also the end of the song which left me disappointed a bit because Chris and acoustic guitars work so well. Good song nonetheless. 7.5/10
”Don’t Be Gone Too Long”
This pop song might be simply produced, but the way Chris sings it is quite different from anything else he’s done in the past. His voice stays very low throughout the verses and if you’re not a CB fan you will only recognize him from the ad-libs and the chorus. I’ve grown to like this version a lot because Ariana obviously overpowers him a bit on their duet version. But they both work well. 7.5/10
Up until now this record, X is easily his most cohesive effort since Exclusive. Body Shots however, is terribly placed despite it still being a pretty good song. I think it would have been a much better idea to replace this with bonus track “Lost In Ya Love”. The EDM trap drop is quite awesome though. 6.5/10
If you’re legal or in any way allowed to drink, you can’t not relate to this song. Unless you have no friends. Is that rude? Sorry. Oh, this song features Jhene Aiko by the way. You don’t hear her a lot, and that’s probably why it works so well. The old school 00’s production is dope. Same guy who produced a lot of songs on Ariana Grande’s “My Everything”. 8/10
“Lost In Ya Love”
I had to listen to this song twice to really like it and now I love it. It’s kind of something Chris could have done during the exclusive era but then again it’s not because he didn’t have his falsetto yet. Production again has a throwback feel to it. Laid back with soft drums and a simple kick. 7/10
X is really amazing people. As with every other Chris Brown album, there is a song for everyone but this time it feels more cleverly put together. There are 2 moods going on this album and that’s why I think Chris wanted to make it a double disc so it wouldn’t feel all over the place. I still think he did a great job at cutting it down to make it as cohesive as possible though. It’s not easy to create a 21 track album without a lot of filler tracks.
When reading professional reviews, you’re going to see a lot of shit about his past. Aside from that you’ll also notice how people don’t talk about some of the most important records on here. They’re going to try and make it as if X is all about his sex game. But they are wrong y’all. Keep that in mind and enjoy X for what it is, which is a great ass project. Chris came through and overcame all of his legal issues by releasing an amazing album. Is it perfect? No, it is not, but then again no album is.
Get it on itunes or buy it in a store!
Final score: 82/100.*
*Fortune’s score was 70/100