Music Review: Chris Brown Releases New Album ‘Fortune’ [Video]

If Chris Brown’s previous album “F.A.M.E.” proved the singer could still be commercially successful despite his increasingly volatile reputation, this year’s album “Fortune” sees Brown taking something of a victory lap.

In the search for good club music that catches a glimpse of the future, Chris Brown’s new album, “Fortune,” is planted firmly in the here and now. A brash recording filled with modern club sounds and the world’s most famous producers and songwriters, the album, while fresh in July 2012, feels stamped with a “use by” date, reports LA Times.

Fortune” is the 5th studio album by Chris Brown, first released on June 29, 2012. It comes on the heels of Brown’s successful and acclaimed 2011 album “F.A.M.E.,” (an acronym for “forgiving all my enemies”) and — as the title suggests — can be seen as a sort of companion piece, like Nelly’s 2004 double-disc releases “Sweat” and “Suit.”

The new album picks up where “F.A.M.E.” left off stylistically by bouncing between hip-hop (“Bassline,” “TIll I Die”) and EDM-influenced dance pop (“Turn Up The Music,” “Don’t Wake Me Up”), with a couple pure pop moments (“Party Hard / Cadillac,” “4 Years Old”) that helped “F.A.M.E.” singles like “She Ain’t You” and “Next 2 You” featuring Justin Bieber cross over, reports the Billboard.

The album served as Brown’s debut release with RCA Records, following the disbandment of Jive Records in October 2011. Brown worked with several record producers on the album, including The Underdogs, Polow da Don, Brian Kennedy, The Runners, Danja, The Messengers, and Fuego, among others.

It features several guest vocalists, including Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Kevin McCall, Sevyn, and Sabrina Antoinette. Originally scheduled for release six months after F.A.M.E. (2011), the album received several push backs.

Four singles have been released from the album, with “Turn Up the Music” being the lead single. It reached number 10 on  Billboard’s Hot 100, and number one on the UK Singles Chart.

“Sweet Love”, “Till I Die” featuring rappers Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa, and “Don’t Wake Me Up” were released as the album’s second, third and fourth singles, respectively.

Compared to the success of his 2011 Grammy award winning album F.A.M.E., which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, Fortune pales in comparison for many.

One of the best songs on the new album is a soft number, “Don’t Judge Me,” that finds him asking a girlfriend to look past his mistakes. “So please don’t judge me, because it can get ugly, before it gets beautiful,” Brown sings in his signature semi-high pitch, reports the Brandon Sun.

“For another singer, such a tune might come off as just another relationship plea,” writes BrandonSun’s Mesfin Fekadu. “But coming from the bad boy singer whose career is nearly restored after his attack on Rihanna three years ago, it seems like a cry for understanding to the whole world and makes him sound vulnerable and appealing.”

Fortune received generally negative reviews from music critics. For example, Sarah Godfrey of the Washington Post wrote: “Fortune is no F.A.M.E. – it sounds like it, sure, but doesn’t move Brown to any new ground musically.”

Entertainment Weekly gave “Fortune” a C- on their grading scale. “[The album] furthers the uncomfortable and frustrating disconnect between Brown’s hothead personal life and his oddly edgeless musical persona…What’s worse, the album doesn’t resolve,” wrote Kyle Anderson.

Lyrically, many of the songs on the 14-track album have not been received in a favorable light. Kia Makarechi from The Huffington Post comments on the “juvenile” ring to the lyrics on Brown’s track “2012”: “It’s supposed to be sexy, but it comes across like something you’ll hear in a fitting room at Marshall’s.”

Editor Andy Kellman from All Music criticized its lyrics as “shameless” and found “few dimensions” in its music, writing that “Fortune is an album of unapologetic swashbuckling.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday Chris Brown performed at the 2012 BET Awards, and even picked up the award for ‘Best Male RnB’ album. When the singer hit the stage to accept the award, he announced that his upcoming Fortune album will not be his last release.

“I’d like to thank Team Breezy, everybody who worked on any one of my albums,” he said. “My last album that’s coming out in two days. … I just want to thank all my fans. It’s dedicated to y’all. This one’s for y’all, man, I appreciate everything,” he said, blowing fans a kiss.

Just Saturday, Chris Brown released a rap over Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” beat, in which he took open shots at rapper Drake. Earlier this month, the hip hop rivals were allegedly involved in a bar brawl in New York’s SoHo nightclub.

Brown’s remix features several shots at Drake, his music, appearance and reputation, with lyrics like this: “One on one, what you scared, bruh?/ Them eyebrows, man, them sh–s is yikes!” and “OVO, you overdose, YOLO no, I live twice!”

Moreover, celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman told the New York Daily News that Alki David, a soda bottling and media mogul, is willing to pony up $1 million to each rapper if they’re willing to fight in a pay-per-view match.

Brown and Drake were said to have sparked a club melee after a champagne-and-note exchange gone awry, thanks to their mutual love – and rocky relationships with – pop star Rihanna. Neither Drake or Brown are considered suspects in the brawl; Brown, in fact, was labeled a “victim.”

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