Chris Brown was really in a lose-lose situation when making the album “F.A.M.E.” (which stands for “Forgiving All My Enemies” or “Fans Are My Everything,” depending on what day you ask him). After his 2009 felony assault charge, he could either sing typical R&B fare and be criticized for ignoring his past, or he could address the issues and inevitably take accusations from cynics of faking it. Unfortunately, he tries both approaches here.
One of the early tracks, “No Bulls—,” features Brown taking a more “romantic” approach to telling his girl about the sweet love they’ll be making. When the track first appeared on a Valentine’s Day mixtape, he introduced it by saying, “It’s Valentine’s Day so make sure y’all do that special thing for the ladies.” His tone made it sound like, well, bulls—.
I certainly can’t accuse Brown of being unrepentant; “All Back,” the best song on the album, features the star apologizing for unnamed past sins and wishing he could take it all back. Although Rihanna is not mentioned by name, Brown’s sincerity is unquestionable.
One line in the opening track, “Deuces,” raises eyebrows, however. Kevin McCall, a guest rapper, references Ike Turner and Tina Turner in his verse, probably the most notorious case of spousal abuse in music. It should have been a no-brainer for removal, but whoops, there it is.
“Look At Me Now” is a blast, but only thanks to the verbal acrobatics of Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne, who put Brown to shame. Brown’s sexual suggestions also get out of hand on “Wet The Bed.” I might not be the biggest Casanova on campus, but I was honestly a tad grossed out.
Obviously, Brown had some issues to address on this album and you can’t ask an R&B star to stop doing what he does best. But he is set to release a second album, “Fortune,” later this year. He could have dedicated one album to both topics, as opposed to sending mixed messages in both.