Every artist dreams of creating an album with no expiration date, to compose something that holds as much relevance 20 years in the future as it does now. In his latest album, Fortune, Chris Brown manages to do everything possible to make sure that the shelf life for his product reads “Summer 2012.”
Looking to stretch the success of 2011’s F.A.M.E., Brown clearly hopes to make Fortune an unofficial sequel. Unfortunately for Brown, cashing in on the days electronic trend has only caused him to create a commercial album rather than a creative one. A mix of R&B, electro dubstep, and multi layered sound effects, Fortune has more producers per track than most artists have per discography.
Many critics have been unable to disassociate Brown’s personal life with his career; some have even promoted the boycott of his album. Fortune seems hastily unapologetic. Brown’s focus seems to be in winning loyalty through the only method he knows how, hit music. Though clearly far from perfect, criticism towards Fortune should not stem unequivocally. There’s no need to strip creative expression from its unique capacity to stand on its own.
Personal matters aside, Brown’s usual formula of heavy club bangers and sensual healers seem to misfire in Fortune. The opening track, “Turn Up the Music,” sounds generic at best. The softer ballads like “Sweet Love” seem to lack a sense of soul. Fortune offers no track as hard-hitting as last year’s “Look at Me Know,” which was really the highlight of F.A.M.E. “Mirage” is a rare standout, possessing an absorbing hybrid of hip hop and dancehall. Fortune exemplifies the dangers of commercialization and carelessness. Brown will be around for a while, to the disappointment of his adversaries. Hopefully within that time he’ll reconnect with himself and realize that a trend is just that, a trend.