Chris Brown Plays it Both Ways on Long-Delayed ‘X’

Chris Brown (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
In this Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 file photo, singer Chris Brown, center, departs the H. Carl Moultriel courthouse after he was released from jail following his arrest for allegedly punching another man, in Washington. A representative for the R&B star announced Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 that Brown has decided to go to rehab to "gain focus and insight into his past and recent behavior, enabling him to continue the pursuit of his life and his career from a healthier vantage point." (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Mikael Wood, LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

LOS ANGELES (L.A. Times)—Five years after Chris Brown’s 2009 assault on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, the R&B star continues to exercise some remarkably dubious judgment in his music.

“I’ll calculate a home invasion,” he sings in “Add Me In,” a track from his new album; later, in a duet with Trey Songz, Brown promises to show a woman “what it means to be a victim of love.” That the duet is called “Songs on 12 Play,” a nod to R. Kelly’s album, hardly helps.

Listening to these tunes (and many others on “X”), you start to wonder if Brown, who was released from jail in June after serving part of a one-year sentence for violating his probation, might somehow have escaped a real awareness of his public persona — if it honestly never occurred to him that a victim of love sounds like a horrifying thing to be in a Chris Brown song.

But then how to account for the ominous title track, in which he broods over his bad reputation before growling, “I swear to God I’m moving on”?
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