Chris Brown’s new album is called F.A.M.E., an acronym for “Forgiving All My Enemies.” Of course, as his actions on Tuesday’s (March 22) “Good Morning America” proved, if his post-show outburst was even half as extreme as reports have made it out to be, he might not have taken that title to heart just yet.
The timing of his behavior following “GMA” was problematic, to say the least: Not only did it occur on the day F.A.M.E. hit stores, but it also happened hours before he was set to premiere the video for his latest single, “Beautiful People,” during MTV’s “The Seven.” Somewhat understandably, given the backlash that followed his alleged window-smashing at ABC’s studios, Brown canceled his appearance on MTV’s show, but the “People” video premiered nonetheless.
Much like everything involving Brown since his 2009 assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna , how you feel about him will probably affect how you feel about his new clip. Some may see its scenes of Brown hamming it up in the studio with the likes of Pharrell and Timbaland as nothing short of garish, while others could view them as glimpses into a man who has made his penance and now is trying very hard to move on with his life. His detractors can never forgive him for his past indiscretions, and his supporters — having already forgiven him — want nothing more than to see him smile occasionally. And both sides are right.
So while the “Beautiful People” video is sure to be divisive, the song most certainly is not. Because it’s totally great: a throbbing, nocturnal knocker of a track that’s dipped in equal parts swagger and studio lacquer. Producer Benny Benassi leaves his clubby touches all over the song, infusing it with house thump and a touch of Italo-boogie. Brown’s vocals are almost an afterthought; smoothed out in the studio and downright supple, his voice is almost like the lightweight chassis atop a very expensive, very fast foreign sports car. It speeds along and handles beautifully. It’s not a stretch to call “Beautiful People” not only one of the year’s most unexpected singles, but also one of the best.
Of course, some folks might not even listen to it or watch the video. That’s a shame, but in some regards, I can’t blame them. Then again, sometimes it’s best to leave the judgment up to the court of public opinion and focus instead on the product at hand. Love him or hate him, with “Beautiful People,” Chris Brown has proven that he’s not going anywhere for a while, whether you like it or not.
What do you think of Brown’s new video? Share your reviews in the comments!