R&B and hip-hop superstar Chris Brown has released his fifth studio album, Fortune, via RCA Records, featuring singles Turn Up the Music, Don't Wake Me Up and more.

Fortune Album Review

History has provided us with a long list of shocking moments: David the lowly shepherd manages to take down the mighty Goliath, JFK is assassinated on a calm Texas day, T-Pain starts singing without Auto-Tune. These are all moments that made us question the way the world works, made us wonder what was possible, what other unseen surprises lay life had in store for us.

Chris Brown’s new album Fortune is not one of those moments. Take a moment, close your eyes, and before you even press play, picture what you think Fortune will sound like…yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like. Brown is a R&B singer unafraid to cross the line between rap and R&B with a well-deserved reputation for loving women, money and fame (not necessarily in that order). Fortune is a R&B album unafraid to cross the line between rap and R&B that revels in a love for women, money and fame (not necessarily in that order). Those who dislike Brown for beating Rihanna, his bar brawl with Drake and his litany of headline-grabbing behavior won’t find anything on Fortune to convince them to change their minds. Those who choose to overlook the controversy and live vicariously through Brown will find plenty of their hero’s swagger and personality to revel in on Fortune. There are no surprises here.

If you’re an artist truly looking to make a dent on the charts in 2012 you’re going to have to make some music DJs can spin in clubs from L.A. to Ibiza, and sure enough Brown provides no shortage of fist pumping moments, beginning with the aptly-named Turn Up the Music. There’s no secret recipe here, combine a pulsing beat with the same universal appeal that Brown displayed on Forever and you’ve got the definition of party-ready pop music. Don’t Wake Me Up follows suit closely, opening with a more acoustic feel before exploding into a speaker-pumping chorus sure to get crowds sweating even at 2 AM. Sure, that club may be filled with flying bottles, but Fortune proves that any party with Brown will be a party to remember.

Besides party starter, Chris Brown’s two other sides are the hard-edged rapper and the bad boy with a soft heart, and it’s the latter personality that takes up the bulk of Fortune. For starters, there are the requisite bedroom burners like the slowly burning Sweet Love and Biggest Fan, tracks built for pulling a girl onstage for some serenading (and/or dry humping) during a live show. And then there are selections like Don’t Judge Me, ballads meant to reveal the “real” Chris Brown, a man who beneath all the flashing lights just wants to love and be loved. This is the man who sweetly croons “If the sky was turning red, I know we’d be safe / right here in my bed, laying face to face” on 2012 or emotionally admits that despite all the success he’s experienced, he often feels like a 4 Year Old just trying to prove that he belongs in the world. And you’d think that a man being chased by literally thousands of women every night would be cold hearted by now but no, that one special woman can still get him Stuck on Stupid. Doubters will listen to these tracks and hear shallow apologies in the name of album sales, while fans will find yet more evidence that Brown is unjustly maligned by the media and haters. The truth is in the eye of the beholder, and with easily accessible albums like Fortune, there will continue to be a lot of eyes on Chris Brown.

Throw in a handful of tracks that thoroughly cross over into the aforementioned hip-hop territory, most notably the infectious Till I Die and Mirage, which serves as the album’s only real surprise by bringing in the legendary Nas for a guest verse, and you’ve got an album that doesn’t defy expectations, it makes sweet R&B love to them. After listening to Fortune I’m convinced that tomorrow the sun will continue to rise in the East, more seriously minded music heads will remain unimpressed by Chris Brown’s tunes and his legion of fans will turn Fortune into a number one album. Shockingly, the least shocking thing Breezy has done in months is his brand new album.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

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Posted 3 years ago

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