Chris Brown may be a grown, 23-year old man at this point but he still sings like a 15-year old, and consistently provides the subject matter to make the sound feel appropriate. The stakes on Fortune are consistently as high as they can possibly be in the way only an adolescent can see them: the end of the world, one chance life-changing sex, music as substitute for carbon or water, Magnum condoms, the finest girls and the trillest marijuana.
Perhaps most importantly, the women Brown comes in contact with come complete with majestically moist vaginas. Chris Brown provides an appealingly maximalist view of the world…that is, provided the drugs have kicked in. To the sober mind, Fortune is another overload of poor decisions just as Brown’s previous two albums have been. To his credit, he at least avoids any Rihanna talk or begging for the public to stop reminding him of the decisions he’s made.
We’ve all heard “Turn Up the Music”, that dance-club torch song that’s pretty much all production bravado and glitter. It’s disturbingly intoxicating to listen to, but none of the quality of the track is a result of Brown’s presence rather than, say, Usher’s or Jeremih’s. That, of course, remains true throughout the course of the album. “Bassline” follows and seems to never end, an exhaustive string of permutations on some cool sounds that fail to coalesce into a cool song while Chris Brown brags about his dick.
Which, if you enjoy, you’re in for a treat because there’s a lot of Chris Brown’s penis on this album. “Don’t Judge Me” kicks off the Penis Suite with Brown on his knees, begging his main girl to forgive him for having a side chick (key lyric: “Focus on things that are gonna make us laugh”) but it quickly sets all emotion aside for teenaged porn fantasies. There’s “2012” (“Buildings and bridges may be falling down / But that won’t stop me from turning that thing around”) which posits if the world is about to end, we’ll all turn to Brown in the hopes he can blow a model’s back out and save us all. It’s presented as a sort of sweet love ballad about making her legs shiver and vaginal walls “rain”, which certainly sounds romantic. Especially with Brown referring to sex as “doing it.”
My personal favorite lyric resides at the end of “Biggest Fan”‘s final verse. The sweetness of virtue of Brown’s words here are just so refreshing to hear amidst all the porn talk. They are as follows: “I’m kinda tipsy off this wine, so what I say might be a little confusing: I got a Magnum in my wallet. I’ma pull it out, I bet that I’ll use it. I’m gonna make you scream.” Listening to this verse, or the opening of “Strip” in which he lists the various physical features of a woman that he wants to see nude before proclaiming, “but don’t none of that matter, I’m about to make your pockets fatter: girl, I just wanna see you strip,” really enlightens me to Brown’s flawless logic and affection for women.
Anyway, there’s all of that. And then there’s the rapping, which can mostly be mentioned in passing because Nas does an abstract parody of his message board reputation (read: phoning it in) and the Big Sean/Wiz Khalifa pairing is a pair of guys rapping about weed and girls for three minutes of a four minute song Brown mostly shies away from, other than the Kanye West impersonation he files away in a manila folder marked “Please Forget About”. Big Sean even handles hook duty here, leaving Brown essentially irrelevant. Which, you know, isn’t that bad of a thought.
- "Til I Die" Soundcloud
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times. Thanks everyone.