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Album Review: FortuneWonkeyDude98 Mini-Description: In my twenty-first album review...uhhhhhhh...
Best Songs: "Party Hard/Cadillac (Interlude)" ft. Sevyn
Worst Songs: (in order) "Trumpet Lights" ft. Sabrina Antoinette, "Bassline", "2012", "Stuck On Stupid", "4 Years Old", "Strip" ft. Kevin McCall, "Mirage" ft. Nas, "Till I Die" ft. Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa, "Biggest Fan", "Sweet Love", "Don't Judge Me", "Turn Up The Music", "Don't Wake Me Up"
I've had...well...complicated history with Chris Brown.
Despite what some may think, I've never liked Chris Brown. He started off an amateurish tryhard who didn't know how to set a good tone, what with garbage like Run It and Thank You, but you could at least tell that he was a budding artist who needed some time to grow before he could actually be considered a real professional. I guess two years after the fact his cry of Help Me would be a Picture Perfect representation of his towel-throwing.
You know what happened, I know what happened. But that was also the year that his music started to reflect his ever-so-changing persona. Make no mistake; up until 2012, Graffiti was his worst album. It was hands down his most tool-ish album ever, with so much cruel irony and just blatant cruelness slathered across all of the lyrics, especially Famous Girl, which still stands as one of the worst songs of the 21st century.
F.A.M.E. (Acronym for Forgiving All My Enemies, because I needed another reason to punch Chris Brown in the face) was "better" than Graffiti, in that "tense, braying, and often unlistenable" was a step-up from "irredeemably inexplicable". In spite of the admittedly decent Yeah Yeah Yeah, it featured even more of his worst ever songs in my book. Why we ended up giving him three hits off of the album for a reason other than "everyone hates this kid" is absolutely beyond me.
Then, when the album at hand released, in 2012, his sales plummeted and everyone was hailing his album Fortune as a disaster. Was the drop in sales deserved?
Frankly, yes. Because even with its competition being Self-Titled, Exclusive, Graffiti, F.A.M.E., and later X and Royalty, Fortune is Chris Brown's worst album. There's absolutely nothing kind to say about this horrific nightmare of bad electropop.
Chris Brown's voice has never done me favors. He has a thing where he likes to sound like a dog whistle set ablaze, and while he fortunately has dropped the slow harmonizations and horrendous lisp that plagued his earlier work, his addiction to autotune desaturation makes whatever human qualities he could have completely scraped off, while still managing to be grating beyond belief, because Chris Brown is almost always in a complete other key from the instrumentation, which means the autotune has to work further to crowbar his voice into tune, causing intense gargling and a horrendously splitting filter, with the worst example being the chorus of Don't Wake Me Up, where Brown screams the title at the top of his lungs, causing the autotune to completely swallow up his voice.
Even worse than his singing is his rapping. While he doesn't do this a lot, when he does rap, on Bassline and Till I Die, it's exceptionally awful, as his voice and his content become so irritatingly smug and flamboyantly rigid that no matter what the intent of the lyrics are, I can't help but just want to punch Chris in the face, not to mention his utter mess of technical abilities, most of which parallel 2 Chainz when it comes to dropping his flow entirely and completely disregarding rhymes.
And speaking of which, the production on this album is a complete wreck. What is Chris Brown trying to do with this? Every song here is an absolute mess, it's so badly mixed you'd think your device used to listen to this was broken. When the least bad are the buzzing will.i.am "inspired" Turn Up The Music and the tear-inducingly boring Don't Judge Me, ignoring maybe the slightly better mixed interlude Cadillac, you know you have issues.
But then we have songs like Biggest Fan, Stuck On Stupid, Mirage, Till I Die, Sweet Love and especially 4 Years Old and 2012, all of which are slow, heavy downpours of half-asleep blasts of fuzzed-out synth, it's a both cause of nausea and a cure for insomnia. All of these songs make for some of the most painfully unfun electropop I've ever heard in my life. While nothing suffers from the toxic minor chords that plague most hip-hop today, this album makes up for it by sounding so overproduced and yet somehow so barren that there's no fun to be had, only stopping in snippets for the previously mentioned EDM banality of Turn Up The Music and Don't Wake Me Up.
And it turns out, that's the album at its best. Because when you have a song like Strip, with the cavernous clatter of the exclusively-drums beat that drops out on the chorus in favor of a high, squealing synth line that sputters in and out of key, it's bound to be as irritating as music gets. Or Sweet Love, which doesn't get much warmer than a bunch of incredibly loud drums clanging against each other. That's nothing compared to Bassline, even ignoring the buildup of synth that sounds like a rocket catching fire, we have to deal with the clattering mix, the creepy music box, the leaden bassline, and especially the terrible robot watermark repeating "bassline" ad nauseum completely drowning any of the song's energy.
That's Viva La Vida compared to the masterclass of awful that is the closer Trumpet Lights. I never thought a song as insanely terrible as FACK by Eminem could be matched in awfulness, but this song comes about equal. A song so badly mixed and produced that it gave me a literal migraine that's still lingering. You can have a grating song, and then a physically damaging one, and Trumpet Lights easily falls under the latter. Starting off with a saw-bass that cuts through way too much as the swishing percussion keeps on pounding in the most atrociously awkward main loop I've ever heard in my life, as more effects keep on getting piled on, including bubbling effects, fake brass, cavernous drums, and several synth fragments that squeal at a pitch that Chris Brown himself would be able to emasculate in 2005, none of these elements help to make the song sound pleasant, or restrained. I'm also pretty sure it's atonal! Not even mentioning Chris Brown's bad-head-cold performance, and that one part where he sounds like he has an angry lobster confined to his anus ("AH AH AH AH AH AH AH UH (x2)"). Even with an amazing breakdown from Sabrina Antionette, the song is still absolutely evil and it's a wonder it made it past conception.
But even with this song and the entirety of the sound of this album, it pales in comparison to the lyrics on this album, in which are so astoundingly calamitous in every regard you have to wonder how a human wrote it. If I'm being charitable, Don't Wake Me Up is more just whiny than anything, in the same way Turn Up The Music is more generic than anything. Other than this...it's a catastrophe really, to the point where songs like Strip are honestly step-downs.
The amount of awful lyrics here is insane. Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa both have guest verses on Till I Die, and somehow they're both worse than Chris Brown on his own album. In particular, Big Sean decides to say "I knock that...out, time to take a CATNAP". Dude, you're on a Chris Brown song in 2012, are you dense?
Just to keep this in perspective, there's a song here called Don't Judge Me, where Chris Brown tries to cover up for "rumors" by saying that it was only until he started to fall in love with this girl. Uhh, ever since Graffiti, you've made it absolutely clear that there's no dissonance between your persona and your music, WHY SHOULD WE NOT JUDGE YOU?
Stuck On Stupid and Four Years Old are self-writing punchlines. The former song is about how a relationship, in particular a girl, makes Chris Brown feel "stuck on stupid". No, Chris Brown, I'm pretty sure that's a natural feeling for you. The latter song is about how Chris has so much money, but love is what really counts, how he can just get away with anything like he's four years old. You know, probably the age of the person that helped write the song.
Wanna know one of the saddest things about this album? They actually got Nas here. On Mirage, a song about Chris Brown hitting on a girl (potentially Rihanna) by insulting her.
And it's a bad verse.
An album so bad even Nas can't save it.
Moving on, we have the disjointed hilarity of Bassline. Now, I know for a fact that Chris somehow gets women on the hourly, but without a real bass guitar, I can't imagine any girl stripping down to any of his "basslines". The fact that Chris Brown thinks he's that much of an instrumental Mozart, speaking as someone who plays a trombone in a school band, when the most sensual bassline he can muster is mechanical, is a bit laughable in its own way.
But all of this is a David Bowie album in comparison to the ONE TWO THREE punch of 2012, Biggest Fan, and Sweet Love. The third song is probably the least bad for being the least detailed, even if Chris Brown says that he won't even talk to a girl if she doesn't screw him. But the second song is gag-inducing with how much detail Brown goes in, describing how a girl won't deny getting in bed in a menage with Chris, as she's his "biggest fan". Yeah, talk about creepy. But the worst example of this is easily 2012. If you remember that disastrous movie from the same year, then you should know what it's about. It's a song about Chris Brown screwing a girl at the end of the world. I guess the world crumbling on itself as Chris Brown makes her walls crumble is kind of clever if you have an IQ of -1, not even mentioning the detail Chris Brown goes in, forcing me to skip after the first HALF of the first verse because I was so disgusted.
All of this is the effect of a much larger issue: Chris Brown's ego. He's so on top of the world and untouchable by anyone in existence that he can spew whatever random nonsense he wants and it will be loved by everyone. And because of that, this album really only has one theme throughout: Chris Brown wants to screw you. And to that, take the last two words of that last sentence.
This album tries so hard to be sensual and fun, but Chris Brown's best is Usher's worst, and Chris Brown has the same IQ as a retarded chimp, so instead he comes off disgusting and gross. At least make your production a bit less soulless to reflect your nastier side before you look like a total creep.
There are just...there are just no words. How can one make such a vile piece of music for a reason without satire, and have it get adored by fans? It's astounding, but then again, it's Chris Brown, so I shouldn't be surprised he's made one of the worst albums I've ever heard in my life. This is a misogynistic, amateurish, overproduced calamity of the highest order. I'm thinking a -1/10. But honestly, this is so absolutely evil that I can't even recommend it off the grounds of it being so bad it's interesting, for your sake rather than mine. Ugh.
This is WonkeyDude98....Fifth Harmony, Radiohead, Danny Brown, Corey Feldman, and IceJJFish still lie ahead. This is going to be a long week.
Horrid album, great review - ProPanda
thanks - WonkeyDude98
Great review. Album sounds like a Clown threw u and autotuned it. - AlphaQ