Heartbreak On A Full Moon Deluxe Edition: Cuffing Season - 12 Days Of Christmas
By the mid-2010s, the gaps between genres dissolved with increasing frequency, and sonic binaries were largely rendered arbitrary. Rap was R&B; R&B was rap; and sometimes artists from either category would sink into electro-pop or Afrobeats. With his titanic 2017 album, Heartbreak on a Full Moon, Chris Brown embodied this shift like few others, oscillating between gleaming pop, ecstatic trap, sensuous R&B, and the sort of dance-floor soundscapes designed to ignite a party. Through 45 songs, he showcased his entire range of skills, and the deluxe edition, subtitled Cuffing Season - 12 Days Of Christmas, only added to his tapestry of sound. The original is sprawling on its own, as Breezy shifts between aqueous trap and soul-baring romantic confessionals with ease. Featuring appearances from rap gremlin Kodak Black, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and Yo Gotti, "Pills & Automobiles" is trap laced with emphatic brags and melody. Meanwhile, "Heartbreak on a Full Moon" is desperately honest, with Breezy's fluttering vocals emitting the type of hurt that creates an album about disillusionment. And yet Cuffing Season only goes deeper. Adding 12 new songs into the mix, the deluxe edition imbues the LP with a Christmas spirit in the same way that the OG Heartbreak partially indulged in Halloween aesthetics. For "This X-Mas," he and Ella Mai turn a disembodied SWV sample into a home for jingle bells, freshly baked cookies, and romantic surrender. Careening into sugary synth-pop, Chris joins AGNEZ MO for "On Purpose," a buoyant declaration of new love. While those songs conjure images of Exclusive-era C. Breezy, tracks like "I Wanna" and the Trippie Redd–featured "Yoppa" confirm his evolution; the former is an exercise in languid Afropop, while the latter is menacing, melodic trap befitting the late 2010s. It's all wide-ranging, but he's adept no matter the audio canvas. The expanded Heartbreak burrows deeper into Chris Brown's artistry as it swerves between ecstasy and sorrow, heartbreak and holidays. It's called Cuffing Season, but its range of emotions is proof that raw feelings fall outside the jurisdiction of time and place.