F.A.M.E. (Expanded Edition)

F.A.M.E. (Expanded Edition)

From the outset of his career, Chris Brown had a lot of sounds and styles he wanted to explore, but with his fourth studio album, F.A.M.E., and its accompanying expanded edition, he found the best way to fully inhabit them. Shifting between muted alt-R&B, effervescent raps, soft rock, and EDM, the album sees C. Breezy gratifying all his artistic impulses as he explores themes of broken love, optimism, and dance-floor ecstasy. Sprawling yet self-contained, F.A.M.E. is a sleek, powerful impression of pop virtuosity. The LP begins with a goodbye. Floating over the atmospheric synths of "Deuces," he lets loose a resolute farewell to an ex-lover, distilling the bitterness through an anthemic hook that insists on being repeated. Ambient, expressive, and infectious, it's an apex breakup song. Meanwhile, the Kevin McCall–assisted "No B.S." is for bedroom eyes and late-night passion, with a sultry commitment that evokes ’90s baby-making anthems. Crossing into more exuberant affairs, C. Breezy jumps into Europop with "Yeah 3X," an immersive collision of call-and-response interaction and turn-up chants designed to shake a stadium. "Should've Kissed You" is longing pop-R&B tinged with the warmth and regret of kisses never planted. It’s Breezy at his most versatile, and the expanded edition only intensifies the effect. "Bomb" is an exotic—and erotic—thrill ride that featured guest Wiz Khalifa only enhances with playful bars and effortless confidence. The Timbaland-produced "Paper, Scissors, Rock" is an energetic Big Sean and Breezy collaboration that feels like the cousin of Sean's "My Last." With Breezy's swaggering bars alongside athletic flows from Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne, "Look At Me Now" remains a centerpiece and an appropriate directive for the defining vision of a generational artist.

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