(Released October 31st, 2017)
Over the years I’ve been pretty vocal about my feelings regarding Chris Brown’s more recent musical performances (check out my in-depth article here), as a former “stan,” turned fan, turned an occasional listener it seemed as if Brown was destined to release project after project without ever really making that album. Will that change with “Heartbreak on a Full Moon?” Let’s get into the review of the LP below:
Things start off on a rather high note with the opening track “Lost & Found.” I’m surprised by how subtle the production is, that paired with Brown being a bit more laid back than normal was a nice way to open the album. Another pleasant surprise was “Juicy Booty,” it features Jhené Aiko along with another singer and samples “Cutie Pie” by One Way, it immediately reminded me of a slowed down version of Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic.” While the title of the song still occasionally makes me itch, as well as the third singer that appears on the record, it’s an overall good experience. The title track sees Chris singing about lost love (of course), he also sings the chorus in a more airy tone that was a nice touch to make for yet another good song. The first half of the album has the ever so popular “Island” themed songs as well. “Questions,” “Rock Your Body,” “Confidence,” and the first part of “Roses.” Out of those songs I enjoyed “Questions” and “Confidence,” the latter was more toned down production wise but both tracks were nicely done. “Rock Your Body” is perhaps the worst out of the bunch while topic wise “Roses” seems to be kind of all over the place. Other standouts from the first half of the album are: “No Exit,” “This Ain’t,” “Sip,” and “Hope You Do” (merely for the homage paid to Donell Jones’ “Where I Wanna Be.”)
But, they all can’t be winners. The second single “Party” still embodies everything wrong with what Chris has been outputting recently. [“Bitches dancing naked in my living room”] haunts me sometimes, the weird background vocal run at about the 1:10 mark is also played in my nightmares, and it should be a crime for people to keep allowing Usher to be the old uncle in the club – Go home Mr. Raymond and knit a sweater – Gucci did what Gucci does which isn’t surprising but the overall song is lackluster, to say the least. “Privacy” would’ve been okay had the rap verse been left off, “Sensei” caters to the fans of Future/Migos and any other autotune rapper – The production is good, however – The Dej Loaf and Lil Yachty assisted “Handle It” was another no for me.
The second half starts with “Pills &
Potions Automobiles,” is another example of what ’s wrong with Chris’ mainstream music as of late. The features are forgettable and I wish he would’ve thought of a replacement word for “bitch” at least once. Part two is also accompanied by a couple of “island” themed tracks, “I Love Her,” and “You Like.” I was expecting to hear a different song when the track started but it’s still a good song either way and “You Like” is extremely reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s song “Company.” Sonically, “Nowhere” is very Michael Jackson-esque – the high notes Chris does in the background (and throughout the album) are all a no, though. “High End,” “On Me,” and “Covered In You” are no’s for me; However, “Tough Love,” and “Paradise” are both really good songs. Ending part two is Another decent song “Enemy,” it speaks to overall “theme” – if you want to call it that – of heartbreak that appears on the album. The song is essentially about cheating being the cause of a broken relationship while showing the inability to grasp that particular concept because of how much he loved the other person and reassuring them that the other girl was “only for a night” and how the girl choosing to leave shows she didn’t truly care about him – “boy if you don’t get…”
This is where the repetition along with the overall length of the project takes a toll on the music. Out of the last ten songs “Yellow Tape” is the only one I would consider listening to again. It does resemble a track that was penned by Bryson Tiller and has Brown making gang references, the beat and chorus are both good.
Overall, “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” isn’t all bad but it’s not all good either. It definitely surprised me on a few occasions and showed the versatility of Chris is able to do; but the length and repetition are huge downfalls. On a 45 track album there is lots of space for mediocrity or songs that are just “okay.” “Lost & Found,” “Juicy Booty,” “Heartbreak on a Full Moon,” “This Ain’t,” “No Exit,” “Nowhere,” “Paradise,” “ Sip” and “Tough Love” are all songs I would recommend to someone who is either skeptical of the album or if they just don’t have the patience to sit through the whole thing to pick which songs they like. There are other “okay” songs but those are the ones that stood out the most to me personally. Even though I didn’t walk away from the album completely disappointed, that’s only about 20% overall when it comes to originality or being different from the norm.
I was, however, glad to hear an absence of the forced pop songs that appeared on “Royalty,” and the mention of gangs & guns were kept to a minimum; The sheer number of songs about sex was off-putting, none of them really felt “sensual,” and the aspect of heartbreak wasn’t really put into full thought. I would’ve liked this more if it had been an actual concept album but that seems to be impossible for him to do. If not conceptually then sonically it would’ve been a nice step forward, think of how The-Dream has put his own albums together musically one song blends into the next seamlessly while still giving each track its own individuality. It’ll take a lot more maturing as an artist before Chris will get to that level – if he ever does. “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” isn’t a masterpiece, classic, his magnum opus or any other terms in the same vein but I will acknowledge that there’s something here for *almost* every ear. No matter what sort of , music you generally lean towards there’s at least one song that you’ll come away liking. I don’t know how this album will rank compared to his previous projects but at least it’s better than “Royalty.”