It had to happen sometime. I haven’t done a review proper of Chris Brown because, well, talking about the guy depresses me a little too much. He’s the horrible gift that keeps on giving even though you’re screaming for it to stop, for the love of god, just go away. I’ve never been a fan of the guy, but that instance of domestic abuse – and all the petulant, bratty, abhorrent behaviour that has occurred since – is enough to make me, and a lot of people, never want to hear from him again.
And yet he sticks around somehow. The US listening audience seems to have fairly roundly rejected him, and yet he still manages relative success here in Australia (this song particularly). Funnily, this is the fourth single to be released from the album ‘Fortune’ and, fun fact, that album isn’t actually out for another couple of weeks. So basically, all of the singles thus far have flopped so hard that they’ve had to release almost a third of the album before it even comes out. The performance of this album seems to be mirroring that of his 2009 flop ‘Graffiti’ rather than his previous effort ‘F.A.M.E’, whose most successful single - Look At Me Now – had the underlying message of, “Fuck off, I’m famous and therefore unaccountable for my shitty actions.” and the fun kicker in the lyrics of Brown saying “you faggots”, paragon of tolerance that he is.
Chances are most of us are cheering for Brown’s failure, which seems cruel. But then remember that photo of Rihanna’s face, swollen and bruised. Not so cruel anymore. And while no, I don’t think a person need necessarily pay their entire life for one stupid mistake, the fact that he barely suffered and continues to appear essentially unpenitent pretty much makes him a pariah for life, and well-fucking-deservedly too. If you’ve not seen it, have a read of the full police report of the incident. The guy was unrelenting and savage, it’s sickening. Many fans claim along the lines of “Rihanna haz 4given him get da fuckk ova it”, but that doesn’t make him any less of a) a shitty person, b) a terrible role model, particularly for African-American males, and c) just to reiterate, a really terribly shitty person. Many celebrities do stupid stuff – Lindsay Lohan’s entire life, for example – but most of the time they aren’t intentionally harming another human being. And I don’t care who you are, or if you make shitty music, you should not be able to bash a woman for no reason and then turn around and be repeatedly rewarded for it.
A fun little aside: some may have heard about Brown and rapper Drake brawling in a bar. In this article, it describes how Brown tweeted a picture of himself with a cut on his chin and some casual sexism, as well as photos of an innocent woman and Brown’s bodyguard who were injured in the altercation. It really begs the question, HOW IS ANY ONE PERSON SO CONSISTENTLY AND PAINFULLY LACKING IN SELF-AWARENESS?! It’s really a sad indictment of the music industry that potential commercial gains from Brown is more important than his being treated like the abusive cunt that he is. Can you imagine if Jerry Sandusky was given this kind of lenience?
Ugh, I guess I should talk about the song itself. It’s another piece of clubby auto-tuned crap that any idiot could churn out. Surely auto-tune is soon to be dying a deserved death? It seems to be used on every one of Brown’s songs, so maybe their constant failure is a bit of a wake up call to the industry. The number one and two songs are Call Me Maybe and Somebody That I Used To Know – two relatively natural, comparatively raw songs without any of these sticky Berlin nightclub overtones. The other most successful song of recent times? Rolling in the Deep. Wake up, producers: it might be time to shift the goalposts a little bit.
The other thing that baffles me so much is how all of these songs sound exactly the bloody same. Always a similar beat, always with repeated syllables, always with generic, clichéd lyrics we’ve all heard many times before. And weirdly, do you know who it makes me miss? Ke$ha. At least with her you could expect something a bit ballsy and often bizarre and terrible all at once.
If there’s any justice in the world, Brown will have fade into obscurity sooner rather than later. The failure of all his recent singles in the major market of the US so far gives me hope that he might finally get some true comeuppance. And if nothing else, we at least have this song, to function as a defacto declaration of ‘Do Not Resuscitate’. Don’t want to wake up, Chris? Good. Fuck off.