[artist id="1961441"]Chris Brown[/artist] has made it clear that his new album, Graffiti, is for the ladies. The CD, which comes out December 8 and is currently available for a full preview on MTV’s The Leak, is Brown’s first effort since pleading guilty to felony assault in June in connection with his February attack on former girlfriend Rihanna.
And while the singer has said he didn’t try to relive or rehash the incident on the 16-track album, a number of songs will likely make people wonder what was on his mind while he was in the studio. For the most part, like Brown’s previous efforts, the disc alternates between come-on ballads and club bangers, such as the flossy first single “I Can Transform Ya.”
One of the few tracks that does appear to be a direct reaction to the Rihanna incident is the ballad “Crawl,” in which Brown, 20, makes a not-so-subtle call for his ex to return to him. “So we’ll crawl, until we can walk again,” Brown sings. “Then we’ll run, until we’re strong enough to jump/ Then we’ll fly, until there is no wind/ So let’s crawl, crawl, crawl back to love.”
Brown told MTV News the song isn’t about his own relationships, but has a more universal message about rebounding from heartache.
“It was more than me trying to do a record that meant crawl to love, crawl back to love,” he explained. “Meaning whether it’s from your negative situations, whether it’s from any problems you’ve dealt with, like anybody’s situation. Mine being my personal situation with shorty, but for anybody, for being inspired as far as it being the war or a death in the family, whether it’s anything, anybody just crawl back to love. ‘Cause love conquers everything. Love, at the end of the day, makes everybody happy.”
Brown has also tweeted about another song “for the ladies,” “Sing Like Me,” an R. Kelly-esque slow jam on which the singer brags about his skills with females.
The piano-and-drum-machine ballad “So Cold” finds Brown lamenting how chilly it feels with his girl gone, begging anyone who sees her to let her know how much he wants her to come back. “Tell her I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, can you forgive me, please forgive me,” Brown sings plaintively in the tune.
Brown goes hard on the flashy “What I Do,” a simple homage to hot ladies, cold cash and nice rides featuring Plies, then switches it up a bit on the old-school R&B bouncer “Famous Girl,” in which he apologizes for “cheating at the beginning” and “busting the windows” out of his girl’s car, noting that “I’m famous, girl … for breaking hearts,” but also suggesting that the heartache goes both ways.
He hooks up with Tank for the grinding bedroom come-on “Take My Time”; trades verses with Eva Simons on “Pass Out,” a thumping Euro-disco dance tune about partying hard in the club; and gets assists from Trey Songz and the Game on “Wait,” a “Tron”-like slice of future funk that, not surprisingly, is about what he wants to do with some of his lady friends.
The album also features the 1980s-style club track “I.Y.A.”; the keep-your-head-up ballad “Lucky Me,” in which Brown gives thanks for having music to keep him strong; and “Falling Down,” a staccato midtempo lament, in which he sings about having the “weight of the world” on his shoulders and wishing someone would help him up after he falls down. Other tracks include the orchestral ballad “I’ll Go,” the sweaty bedroom filmmaker bid “Movie,” the stutter-beat pickup tune “Gotta Be Ur Man” and a cameo from Sean Paul on the reggae-tinged album-ending homage to a “Brown Skin Girl.”
Hear Chris Brown’s Graffiti a week before its release on MTV’s The Leak.