If you’ve been following theCOOL for a while, you’ll know that I am a CB fan and I’ve always supported his sound evolution from traditional R&B to dance R&Pop (that’s what I call it). F.A.M.E. continues what 2008’s “Forever” began and after a few listens, I wasn’t disappointed in the finished product.
While others feel that Graffiti should have been postponed or even shelved due to the insane media circus that surrounded Brown in 2009, I feel it fits the musical puzzle the CBE team has been forming from the beginning. I do think that F.A.M.E. could not have existed without Graffiti because there were lessons learned both from that album and life in general, which enabled Brown to put together this great compilation of music strictly for his fans.
In F.A.M.E., we find mixtape tracks turned mainstream hits “Deuces” and “No Bullshit” leading off the disc which had to be an act of diplomacy since the songs were/are so popular on the Billboard charts. I personally could have done without them just because I’d heard them on the mixtape the moment it dropped. That’s just me, though.
Ballads like “Up To You”, “Should’ve Kissed You”, and the MJ-sampled “She Ain’t You” resemble the R&B sound that Brown originally became known for while the dance tracks “Say It With Me”, “Yeah 3X”, and “Oh My Love” furthers the fusion he’s adamant on implementing in his music. Of course they all get you moving, so you don’t mind as much and it’s admirable of him to embrace a genre that most would otherwise never have heard if not for his interest in broadening his own horizons.
Collaborations are aplenty on F.A.M.E., ranging from Wiz Khalifa (“Bomb”) to Justin Bieber (“Next To You”), which is actually a beautiful song that I could hit repeat on a few times a day. Radio smash “Look At Me Now” is a must just for Busta Rhymes’ verse alone, so it was only right that it appear on the tracklisting. Past collaborators Ludacris, Big Sean, and Game also help out with verses, making this album just a little more hip hop than one would imagine.
If I had to play favorites, I would say “All Back” (on it, CB sounds like he listened to some adult contemporary radio before doing the vocal arrangement but that’s a great thing to me), Benny Banassi-produced “Beautiful People” (a dance track that surely gets play in the clubs; makes me wanna dance), and the exclusive bonus track that is currently only available on the Team Breezy Deluxe Edition of F.A.M.E., “All About You” are my immediate go-to tracks.
Overall, F.A.M.E. is a piece of work that Brown should be extremely proud of: the material is varied and just right for a man his age to involve himself in. He’s done a fantastic job of making sure that no one was alienated from the album and his embracing of his die-hard fans, Team Breezy, is a step many artists should consider taking in the future. After all, your die-hard fans are the ones who keep your career afloat through the ups and downs.
No one knows this more than Chris.
For your listening pleasure, here is “All About You” in case you hadn’t ordered the Team Breezy edition of F.A.M.E. and go get a copy today!