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Music Review: Chris Brown – Graffiti

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Chris Brown has had quite a year. In February, on the eve of the Grammy Awards, he allegedly assaulted then girlfriend Rihanna, sparking an international outcry from both music lovers and curious onlookers. The rest of the year was a tabloid media frenzy, culminating with Brown being sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to perform over 100 hours of community service for the offense. But despite the legal woes and venom the embattled young star had to face in the wake of his troubles, he was determined to resuscitate a music career many predicted would never rise again.

On Graffiti, his recently released third album, Brown aims to kick things up a notch from his last outing, Exclusive. However, the new album is largely a musical misfire, delivering a middling 14-track set of mostly mid-tempo songs bolstered by big-budget production, some catchy melodies and his usual pop-driven songwriting. With just a handful of memorable tracks, the project never quite achieves that wow factor or magical coherence that distinguished Exclusive from the sea of male R&B records we've waded through in the past couple years.

A blend of contemporary R&B, hip hop, soul and electro-pop, Graffiti gives nods to Brown’s influences like Prince, Usher, Stevie and MJ, but relies too heavily on a swath of throbbing beats to stay afloat. “I Can Transform Ya,” from super-producer Swizz Beatz, makes for an arresting first single (on which rapper Lil’ Wayne lends an amazing verse), and is followed up by the heartfelt “Crawl,” about rekindling a love affair after disappointment.

Brown also assembles a long roster of collaborators for the new album — Trey Songz and The Game on “Wait;” singer/producer Tank on “Take My Time;” newcomer Ester Dean on “I Love You;” and Plies raps on “What I Do” — but, with the exception of Plies, such contributions bring very little flavor to the broth.

Among the highlights, though, are the Ryan Leslie-produced “Famous Girl” — which contains the line, “I should never have wrote Disturbia” — the eerily true-to-life “Fallin’ Down,” and the beautifully sublime “Glow In The Dark.”

Where Chris Brown's two previous albums scored big with fans as well as critics with their delightful range of lyrics and melodies backed by his strong and beautiful voice, Graffiti is overpowered simply by its zeal to prove that he’s still got “it.” Make no mistake, while Brown’s appeal has waned in the eyes of some, his talent remains undeniable. He just needs to dig a little deeper right now.

BEST TRACKS: "Glow in The Dark," "Crawl" and "Famous Girl"

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About TYRONE S REID - Tallawah

  • Trish

    Who’s playing synthesizer/keyboards on Glow in the Dark. It sounds like a guitar; but, I think it’s a keyboard. [Personal contact info deleted]

  • Ms Linda

    he is amazing talentedyoung man and i have adopted him because he and my grandson who just turn 18 in sept. look so much alike by the way my grandson is a lil nerd but my nerd i did this because how they try to destroy him he made a mistake and i am so glad that he is moving on and doing his program we are a village and we are going to support our children as for rhinna she needs to work her program she needs to tell young ladies do not hit young men because young will hit back chris is a good kid and you’ll know it you’ll let charlie sheen keep abusing his wives and accepting it but you try to down chris for one miskake it take two rhinna is still in love with chris she would be with him if you’ll tell her to leave him alone this is why she is talking because she gotted talk because thats what we do and her pr people needs to her to slow down because what she is doing is being a role model not even for her self she angry because chris is moving on you’ll call her a pop princess i can’t see it because if she work for disney she would be FIRED she is having fun with tom dick harry mary jane sue slow down lil girl because the is watching and it is not good believe me they are trying to sweep some of what you are doing under the rug every time they say chris they are going to thank about you and you do not want that you have a career but for chris keep listing to your mother you can not go wrong because she is going to be the last one to stand good luck

  • mone

    the album is hopping CHRIS i hope you have moved on and i am looking forward for you to be number ONE AGAIN.LIVE GOOD.LOVE GOD. MWAH. STAY AWAY FROM THAT GIRL.I KNOW YOU LOVE HER BUT SHE SHOWS NO INTEREST IN YOU. ALL SHE WANTS TO DO IS MESS YOU UP. LET HER GO.

  • The Southerner

    Crawl is a contender for song of the year. The video is banging too.



  • mz.youngblood

    I love everythang he do. Everyone goes through stuff. Its n da pass let dat man get on wit his life. Keep ur head up n do u. I still luv ya chris

  • MoB

    I like the CD. I bought two copies for me and my daughter. He is a great talent.

  • Bee


  • MOJO

    Ilove grafitti. It is a great album. My favorite songs are PASS OUT; FOR UR LOVE; I LOVE U; CRAWL and BROWN SKIN GIRL (DELUXE VERSION).

  • Chris brown Fan

    i cant get the songs out of my head 🙂
    I love you Chris breezy
    my baby xoxo

  • kii.kii

    cb hes doin his thing
    the album is the ish iam lovin it and him always

  • Ge-Yo

    damn my homeboy is back on top go man your # 1 no matter what the hell they say

  • love

    Congratulations Chris Brown on a wonderful Album! Graffiti is HOT!

  • peace

    his album is good, i like it