Never-end­ing drama

Chris brown’s al­bum X still awaits re­lease, and the singer’s prob­lems con­tinue.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By Ger­rick D. kenneDy

I’m just try­ing to move for­ward and learn from ev­ery mis­take,” Chris Brown says as he ex­plains the ge­n­e­sis of X, his up­com­ing al­bum.

It’s late march and Brown is at a Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia stu­dio pre­view­ing tracks from a record meant to jolt a ca­reer plagued by re­peated scan­dal.

But af­ter nu­mer­ous push-backs, X still isn’t com­ing any­time soon – de­spite a hand­ful of chart­ing sin­gles, high-pro­file col­lab­o­ra­tions and prime TV per­for­mances.

To sat­isfy pa­tiently wait­ing fans, Brown is­sued a free mix­tape, X-Files, re­cently.

Al­bum post­pone­ments are com­mon – tracks are cut at the eleventh hour, guest fea­tures are se­cured, new sin­gles are launched – but Brown’s roll­out has faced a trick­ier hur­dle: his on­go­ing le­gal trou­bles and him­self.

Since the mix­tape ar­rived just days af­ter the R&B singer ex­ited a short re­hab stint – a judge or­dered him to re­turn for 90 days at a pro­ba­tion hear­ing last week – it high­lights the con­found­ing po­si­tion the singer has rou­tinely found him­self in since that night in 2009 when he bru­tally as­saulted Ri­hanna.

He wants his mu­sic to speak for him, yet given his life out­side the stu­dio, it’s of­ten con­sid­ered noth­ing more than a sound­track to Brown’s drama.

X was meant to re­mind the pub­lic that be­hind the in­ces­sant tabloid drama – ei­ther war­ranted by his fre­quent mis­steps or pro­pelled by rav­en­ous gos­sip­mon­gers tar­get­ing him – was an un­de­ni­able tal­ent.

The new mix­tape is a grab bag of li­bidi­nous slow jams and bass-heavy club-thumpers that fans quickly ate up, but it isn’t nearly as strik­ing as what Brown pre­viewed for the al­bum.

Even if X was a stellar ef­fort, the buildup for it has taken a back seat to le­gal woes for an oft-trou­bled singer who just can’t af­ford any more trou­ble. And re­gard­less of great sin­gles such as the retro-dipped Fine China, the Aaliyah-as­sisted Don’t Think They Know or a bouncy club banger with Nicki mi­naj, the kid is mak­ing it down­right im­pos­si­ble to sell an al­bum about “tran­si­tion­ing as a man and not try­ing to fo­cus on the past stuff and tri­als and tribu­la­tions,” as Brown said ear­lier this year.

In con­ver­sa­tion nearly eight months ago, he talked in earnest of want­ing to move be­yond the con­tro­versy and in­stead fo­cus on craft­ing a deeply per­sonal al­bum.

“I know there’s al­ways sto­ries or this or that out about Chris Brown,” he ad­mit­ted, “(but) what­ever you think you know about me, just lis­ten to the al­bum.”

But with ev­ery TmZ head­line, it has be­come in­creas­ingly hard to fo­cus on the mu­sic.

Pros­e­cu­tors in Los An­ge­les ac­cused him in Fe­bru­ary of fail­ing to per­form his com­mu­nity labour sen­tence in re­la­tion to the Ri­hanna case (he agreed to per­form an ad­di­tional 1,000 hours). And a judge briefly re­voked the singer’s pro­ba­tion af­ter a hit-an­drun in­ci­dent in July (that case was dis­missed).

In late Oc­to­ber, the singer was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of felony as­sault af­ter what po­lice said was a fra­cas with another man out­side a ho­tel in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The case was re­duced to a mis­de­meanour, and af­ter plead­ing not guilty Brown, who is still on pro­ba­tion for the 2009 as­sault case, was re­leased on his own recog­ni­sance.

“To gain fo­cus and insight into his past and re­cent be­hav­iour,” a rep for the singer re­cently said, Brown opted to seek treat­ment at an undis­closed malibu fa­cil­ity last month. But 16 days later he was out and with new mu­sic.

Per­haps he can over­come all this again. Af­ter all, his fans and peers seem to un­con­di­tion­ally love him.

Brown won his first Grammy af­ter the Ri­hanna in­ci­dent for his come­back record, F.A.M.E., and his last ef­fort, 2012’s For­tune, reached No.1.

The singer is also one of the most in-de­mand voices in mu­sic, lend­ing his vo­cals to ev­ery­one from Pusha T to Pit­bull to, yes, even Ri­hanna (her fourth col­lab­o­ra­tion with Brown since the 2009 in­ci­dent is slated to ap­pear on X.)

His fans took to Twit­ter to buzz about the project as blogs posted the mix­tape for down­load­ing. But none of them asked the press­ing ques­tion – what hap­pens next?

At a pro­ba­tion hear­ing last week the singer was or­dered by a judge to 90 days in re­hab, com­plete 24 hours a week of com­mu­nity labour and un­dergo pe­ri­odic drug tests, but the or­der isn’t a sen­tence for a pro­ba­tion vi­o­la­tion.

A Wash­ing­ton, D.C., judge set a Jan 8 hear­ing on the mis­de­meanour sim­ple as­sault charge. Brown faces up to 180 days in jail and a US$1,000 (Rm3,200) fine if con­victed in that case.

At the lis­ten­ing ses­sion ear­lier this year, the al­bum’s ti­tle track cap­tured at least Brown’s hopes for the fu­ture.

“You can start a fight, I ain’t fight­ing back,” he sings, “I swear to God I’m mov­ing on.”

Brown can surely pull off a re­demp­tive al­bum. He’s done it be­fore. But can he ex­pect the pub­lic to move on if he hasn’t yet de­liv­ered on that prom­ise? — Los An­ge­les Times/mcClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Seek­ing re­demp­tion: chris brown can’t seem to catch a break (and why should he?).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.