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Follow my Twitter and you can see I’m not a huge fan of Chris Brown, and that’s mostly based on his out of the studio antics because I enjoy his music. When his 4th album “F.A.M.E.” was released earlier this year I resisted listening to it, but recently with unbiased ears listened to the album and was more or less floored by what I heard.

Towards the middle of the album I totally forgot I’m supposed to hate him, because the song choices and his talents washed those thoughts right away. Chris put together a more than solid R&B album, which is actually a call for all his competitors to step their game up. “F.A.M.E.” is easily the most risky and forward thinking R&B Album I’ve heard in a long while, it’s almost so different than what else is out there it kind of deserves it’s own category (maybe some weird mix of R&B/Pop/Dance and Indie Hip Hop).

This is not to say that Chris abandons radio R&B, we get singles like “She Ain’t You” (which beautifully gives love the two songs that popularized it’s sample before — Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and SWV’s “Right Here Human Nature”) and “Up 2 You”. The rest of the R&B cuts tread the line between R&B and Pop, like the stellar (almost “With You” part two) “I Should’ve Kissed You” and the albums stand out cut “All Back” which leans slightly to Indie-Rock.

Chris really shines on the dance cuts though (much like on his last album “Graffitti”), and he doesn’t deliver the typical radio hits. “Beautiful People” with Benny Benassi is authentic of a underground club cut as Sam Sparro or Hot Chip could give. While “Say It With Me”, a real strong Michael Jackson influence is felt here, and another standout cut “Oh My Love” switch tempos to mix R&B/Hip Hop and Dance together and he does it effortlessly, with some strong and unique vocal delivery on the latter track.

The downside to what was actually a decent album “Graffiti” was the number of sappy slow songs, which dealt in the “feel sorry for me” “I’m only human” pool. This album, Chris isn’t setting out to prove anything it seems but making great music and having fun. Everything here feels really effortless (even what could have been horrible, but is a pretty nice duet between him and Justin Bieber) coming from his end, which results in a near flawless and fun album. This is actually one of the better albums released this year.

And to think, I was going to let my hatred stop me from hearing it.

4.5 of 5

Best: All Back, Oh My Love, Look At Me Now

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