With only a couple of days until Chris Brown’s highly anticipated sixth album, X, drops (September 16), several soulful singles have appeared, providing insight into the possible state of Chris Brown’s own soul. Officially, we have “New Flame,” featuring Rick Ross and Usher. Unofficially, we have “Autumn Leaves” and “Drunk Texting” featuring Jhené Aiko.
In “New Flame” Usher and Breezy are dressed in snow white finery, surrounded by a pool of fine dime-piece honeys. Chris Brown dances in the middle of them, adding that usual Breezy touch. (Although sometimes the frenetic hip-hop moves feel out of place with the crooner).
Chris Brown’s New Flame:
Rick Ross makes his usual shirtless appearance with a rather bland rap, but we can forgive that because the rest of the song is quite magical. Over a unique soft-rock synth beat, Usher and Breezy blend velvet voices beautifully. The crooners try to woo a girl at the club into trying a “new thing” and sparking a “new flame”. Sounds pretty romantic, like the perfect song to sing to a potential boo-thang. (Although I would have preferred Chris and Usher to sing to just one honey instead of several!) Best moment? Chris and Usher dancing together!
The leaked “Autumn Leaves” features a more sensitive and lyrically mature Brown over some Kendrick Lamar. Full of reflection, the soulful ballad even has a twinge of regret for a failed romance (Rihanna anyone?)
“I’ve been bleeding in your silence / I feel safer in your violence / I hold on like leaves and fall to what is left / Before I sleep I talk to God / He must be mad with me, it’s coming / I’m confused who’ll I’ll spend my forever with.”
Kendrick Lamar jumps on the hook with Chris Brown, sounding as outlandish, insightful, moody, and sincere as Andre 3000.
“When you’re outlandish and you lose manners, to God you shall consult / When the bright cameras are still cramming in your face and it provoke / You to act mannish, just stay planted, because you reaping what you sow,” Kendrick raps.
Hmmm… was that a little guidance toward Chris? Could Chris be taking a turn for the better? Kudos Kendrick.
Finally, Jhené Aiko, who just released Souled Out, partners with Chris to do that thing we always do when missing an ex: “Drunk Text.” (And finally, the album features the earlier released hit, the Michael Jackson-nesque “Fine China”).
Chris Brown’s Fine China:
With these teasers as appetizers, I’m actually looking forward to Chris Brown’s X. Will the rest of the album be as insightful? We’ll find out this week!