F.A.M.E. (album)

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Not to be confused with Fame (album) or The Fame.
F.A.M.E.
Studio album by Chris Brown
Released March 18, 2011
(see release history)
Recorded 2010–11
Genre R&B, pop, hip hop, dance[1]
Length 53:53
Label Jive
Producer Alle Benassi, Afrojack, Brian Kennedy, Bigg D, Benny Benassi, Chris Brown (exec.), DJ Frank E, Diplo, Free School, H-Money, J-Roc, Kevin McCall, Mark Pitts (also exec.), Polow da Don, Ra Charm, Tha Bizness, Team Breezy (also exec.), The Messengers, The Stereotypes, The Underdogs, Timbaland, Timothy Bloom, Tina Davis (also exec.), T-Wiz
Chris Brown chronology
Graffiti
(2009)
F.A.M.E.
(2011)
Fortune
(2012)
Singles from F.A.M.E.
  1. "Yeah 3x"
    Released: October 25, 2010 (2010-10-25)
  2. "Look at Me Now"
    Released: February 1, 2011 (2011-02-01)
  3. "Beautiful People"
    Released: March 11, 2011 (2011-03-11)
  4. "She Ain't You"
    Released: March 28, 2011 (2011-03-28) (radio)
  5. "Next to You"
    Released: June 24, 2011 (2011-06-24)
  6. "Wet the Bed"
    Released: September 13, 2011 (2011-09-13) (radio)

F.A.M.E. is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Chris Brown, first released on March 18, 2011 by Jive Records. Brown worked with several record producers and songwriters for the album, including Kevin McCall, Jean-Baptiste, Brian Kennedy, DJ Frank E, The Underdogs and The Messengers, among others. The album featured several guest appearances, including Kevin McCall, Tyga, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Justin Bieber, Benny Benassi, Wiz Khalifa, Game, Timbaland and Big Sean.

Musically, F.A.M.E. combines the musical genres of R&B, pop, hip hop and Europop. Upon its release, the album received mixed reviews from most music critics, who were ambivalent towards its songwriting and material. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 270,000, Brown's first number-one album in the United States. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for selling more than 500,000 copies. The album garnered three Grammy Award nominations at the 54th annual ceremony, eventually winning Best R&B Album. F.A.M.E. also won Album of the Year at the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards.

The album spawned three hit singles, "Yeah 3x", "Look at Me Now" and "Beautiful People". "Yeah 3x" and "Beautiful People" were commercially successful in Oceania and some European regions. In the United States, "Look at Me Now" reached number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts. To support the album, Brown embarked on his F.A.M.E. Tour in Australia and North America.

Background and development[edit]

In September 2010, Kevin McCall revealed that Brown had begun work on his fourth studio album, and mentioned that he had been recording music with Brown and Timbaland for the album.[2] On September 18, 2010, Brown announced that the album would be titled, F.A.M.E.[3] The acronym of the title has two meanings, "Forgiving All My Enemies" and "Fans Are My Everything".[4] On Christmas Day 2010, Brown confirmed via Twitter that he would be collaborating on a track with Canadian recording artist Justin Bieber.[5] He also shared plans of a possible collaboration with Bruno Mars, stating "ME and BRUNO MARS are doing an incredible record soon ... (like 2011 ELVIS and MICHAEL) gonna be a movie!!!!".[6]

Wiz Khalifa,[7] Asher Roth[8] and Game[9] were also known to have been working with Brown on the album. In describing the album, Brown said, "On this album some of the songs are more grown-up. There are songs from all genres: from street records to others that are real soul, 808 heavy that you'll hear in the club, and then others are strictly for the heart; songs that your mom and grandma can listen to and love. Collectively, F.A.M.E. is me giving fans every aspect of who I am as far as my art, my culture, and my concepts."[10]

Composition[edit]

A sample of "Next to You," which features vocals from Canadian recording artist, Justin Bieber.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

F.A.M.E. combines the musical genres of R&B, pop, hip hop, reggae and euro.[1] The opening track, "Deuces", which features Kevin McCall and Tyga, is a slow, downtempo R&B track that "tells the story of a failed relationship".[1] Joanne Dorken of MTV UK noted that the song shows off Brown's "silky-smooth vocals".[1] "Up 2 You" is an R&B ballad, which follows on from the break-up theme. The song was likened to the musical styles of Bobby Brown[11] and Usher.[1] "Next to You", featuring Justin Bieber, is a "thumping mid-tempo" pop track.[1][12] In the song, they both sing about their love for a girl.[1] Sarah Rodman from The Boston Globe wrote that the song "offers one of Brown's most tender vocals to date".[13] The third track, "No Bullshit", is an R&B song, which features a "classic 90's feel".[1]

The album's up-tempo tracks, "Yeah 3x" and "Beautiful People", both feature electro house and Europop influences.[1] "Yeah 3x" was compared to Brown's single "Forever" (2008), and was likened to the musical styles of The Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Jay Sean.[14][15][16][17] The fourth track, "Look at Me Now", which features American rappers Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, is a "dirty south-inspired" hip hop song,[18][19] featuring "fast-rapping" from Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes.[20] The song was musically compared to Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's work and Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How to Dougie" (2010).[21] The fifth track, "She Ain't You", is a ballad which samples Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" (1983) and SWV's "Right Here" (1993).[1] The ninth track, "All Back", is a rock ballad that features "raw vocals and prominent guitar".[1] It was musically compared to Ryan Tedder's work.[17] Brown revisits his rapping skills on the tracks, "Say It With Me" and "Oh My Love".[1] Dorken described the former as a "fast-paced track with a dance feel", and likened the song's musical style to Justin Timberlake, because of its "high-pitched chorus."[1] "Bomb", which features Wiz Khalifa, contains reggae influences, and was musically compared to Beenie Man's work.[1]

Release and promotion[edit]

The standard edition of the album was released simultaneously with the deluxe edition from March 18, 2011. The deluxe edition included five additional tracks.[22][23] The album cover, designed by Ron English, was revealed on February 14, 2011.[24] The cover features a multi-colored, neon portrait of Brown striking a serious pose, while two identical images of him sporting a baseball cap face opposite directions on each shoulder.[24] The official track listing for the album was then revealed on February 22, 2011.[23]

To promote the album, Brown performed "Yeah 3x" and "No Bullshit" on Saturday Night Live on February 12, 2011.[25] During the week leading up to the US release of the album, Brown treated fans to a series of secret listening sessions, and gave them an exclusive bonus track and music video.[26] It was a campaign that Brown launched on behalf of his worldwide fan base, nicknamed "Team Breezy".[26] The first listening session was held on March 14 in Los Angeles.[26] It was then followed by consecutive sessions in Atlanta (March 15), Washington, D.C. (March 16) and New York City (March 17).[26] Each session was held at a secret location and was hosted by Brown and the "Team Breezy" team leaders in each city.[26]

On March 22, 2011, Brown appeared on Good Morning America to perform "Yeah 3x", and later appeared on 106 & Park, where he performed "Deuces", "Look at Me Now" and "Ain't Thinkin' 'Bout You".[27][28] On March 29, 2011, a pre-taped performance of Brown performing "Yeah 3x" and a medley of "Forever" and "Beautiful People", was broadcast on Dancing with the Stars (US).[29] On June 26, 2011, he performed "She Ain't You", "Look at Me Now" and "Paper, Scissors, Rock" live at the 2011 BET Awards.[30] On July 15, 2011, Brown appeared on The Today Show, as part of the show's concert series, which took place at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.[31] Brown performed "Yeah 3x", "I Can Transform Ya", "She Ain't You" and "Forever" at the concert.[31] On August 28, 2011, Brown performed a medley of "Yeah 3x", "Protect Ya Neck", "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Beautiful People" at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.[32]

Singles[edit]

"Yeah 3x" was released as the album's lead single on October 25, 2010. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised its production and lyrics. The song peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100.[33] It reached the top-ten on the singles charts of Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.[34][35][36][37] "Look at Me Now", which features American rappers Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, was released as the album's second single on February 1, 2011.[38] It was sent to rhythmic contemporary radio in the United States on February 8, 2011.[39] Music critics noted "Look at Me Now" as the standout track on the album, and praised Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne's rap verses.[40][41][42] The song peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it Brown's highest chart position since "Forever" (2008).[43] It reached number one on the US Rap Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.[44]

"Beautiful People", featuring Benny Benassi, was released as the album's third single on March 11, 2011.[45] The song was well received by most music critics who praised its production and lyrics.[41][46][47] "Beautiful People" reached the top-ten in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.[48] In the United States, the song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart, and became the first number-one single for both Brown and Benassi.[49] "She Ain't You" was released to urban radio in the United States on March 28, 2011, as the fourth US single from F.A.M.E..[50] It peaked at number five on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, number 17 on the US Pop Songs chart, and number 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[51]

"Next to You", which features Canadian recording artist Justin Bieber, was released as the fourth international single on June 24, 2011. Most music critics positively reviewed the song, complimenting the blending of Brown and Bieber's vocals.[52] The song reached the top-twenty in Austria, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,[53] and the top-thirty in Australia, Germany, Ireland and the United States.[53][54] "Wet the Bed", which features American rapper Ludacris, was sent to US urban radio on September 13, 2011, as the album's fifth US single.[55] It peaked at number six on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number 77 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[56]

Tour[edit]

Main article: F.A.M.E. Tour

Brown embarked on his F.A.M.E. Tour in April 2011 in Australia.[57] Jessica Mauboy, Havana Brown, and Justice Crew, served as the supporting acts on all dates of the Australian leg.[57] 32 show dates in North America were later added to the tour, which began in September 2011.[58] Kelly Rowland, T-Pain, Bow Wow and Tyga served as the opening acts of the North American leg.[58]

Reception[edit]

Commercial performance[edit]

F.A.M.E. debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 270,000 copies, serving as Brown's first number-one album on the chart.[59] Its first week sales also served as the second-largest one-week sales of 2011 in the United States alone.[60] On the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, F.A.M.E. also debuted number one, giving Brown his third non-consecutive number-one album on the chart.[61] The album was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of 500,000 copies in the US.[62] As of May 2012, F.A.M.E. has sold 872,000 copies in the US.[63]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[64]
The A.V. Club C[65]
Entertainment Weekly B+[12]
The Independent 2/5 stars[66]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[46]
The New York Times mixed[11]
PopMatters 3/10[67]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[68]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[69]
The Washington Post mixed[42]

F.A.M.E. received generally mixed reviews from music critics.[70][71] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 52, based on 16 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[70] Andy Gill of The Independent called F.A.M.E. "equal parts bubblebath boudoir soul and more bullish beat-driven floor-fillers", criticizing its content regarding "paranoia, reproach and bogus regret, along with the standard 'aspirational' bragging about money and sex".[66] Los Angeles Times writer Margaret Wappler gave it two-and-a-half out of four stars and commented that it "feels strained and sometimes downright desperate", stating "the album leaves not an impression of one singular style but of the great effort required to mix and match so many times".[46] The Observer '​s Ally Carnwath wrote that Brown "still sounds hamstrung by a fear of trying anything too edgy".[72] Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club wrote favorably of the album's "effervescent slow jams and up-tempo R&B struts", but criticized its "oversold ballads".[65] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times wrote unfavorably of Brown's performance and stated "Mostly, he has a really charmless way with a lyric".[11] The Boston Globe '​s Sarah Rodman commented that "only a handful of tracks truly showcase Brown’s strengths" and criticized his singing "crudely about sex, emptily about partying, and lazily about romance".[13] David Amidon of PopMatters found Brown's vocal "apathetic" and panned the songs as "childish and trite".[67]

However, Allmusic editor Andy Kellman gave it three-and-a-half out of five stars and complimented its "variety of styles", writing that "it hints that Brown’s best is yet to come".[64] Entertainment Weekly '​s Brad Wete complimented its "intoxicating hooks" and commented that the album "shines brighter than anything he produced before".[12] Steve Jones of USA Today found it "edgier" than Brown's previous work and called it "the strongest album of his career".[73] BBC Online's Nick Levine viewed that he lacks an "artistic identity", but complimented its "club-pop" songs and stated "despite [...] lapses in taste, and a glut of unadventurous mid-tempo RnB cuts, F.A.M.E. is no catastrophe".[17] Rolling Stone writer Jody Rosen commented that "Brown has a good nose for production" and called F.A.M.E. "a pop 'n' b album with something for everyone".[68] Sean Fennessey of The Washington Post called the album "unapologetically defiant", but expressed a mixed response towards its production and wrote that "the transitioning heartthrob vacillates between petulance and punch throughout".[42] Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson commented that "The cute-to-ick ratio is significantly more favorable than it was last time around", but called the album "good for impressionable ears, but dull for discerning ones [...] a collection of avoidant club jams [...] and indirect overtures of love/lust".[69]

Accolades[edit]

Brown received six nominations at the 2011 BET Awards and ultimately won five awards, including Best Male R&B Artist, Viewers Choice Award, The Fandemonium Award, Best Collaboration and Video of the Year for "Look at Me Now".[74] He also won three awards the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards, including the People's Champ Award, Reese's Perfect Combo Award and Best Hip Hop Video for "Look at Me Now".[75] F.A.M.E. was nominated for Favorite Soul/R&B Album at the 2011 American Music Awards.[76][77] On November 27, 2011, it won Album of the Year at the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards.[78] The album and its single, "Look at Me Now", earned Brown three nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.[79] F.A.M.E. eventually won in the Best R&B Album category. At the 2012 NAACP Image Awards, the album was nominated in the Outstanding Album category.[80] F.A.M.E. was nominated in the Top R&B Album category of the 2012 Billboard Music Awards.[81]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Deuces" (featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall) Chris Brown, Michael Stevenson, Kevin McCall Kevin McCall 4:36
2. "Up 2 You"   Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas, Lamar Edwards, Eric Dawkins, Steve Russell, Dewain Whitmore, Jr. The Underdogs 4:07
3. "No Bullshit"   Brown, McCall, Christopher Whitacre, Justin Henderson Tha Bizness 4:07
4. "Look at Me Now" (featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes) Brown, Wesley Pentz, Jean Baptiste, Ryan Buendia, Dwayne Carter, Jr., Trevor Smith Diplo, Free School* 3:42
5. "She Ain't You"   Brown, Baptiste, Buendia, McCall, Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, John Bettis, Steve Porcaro, Brian Morgan Free School 4:08
6. "Say It With Me"   Brown, Harmony "H Money" Samuels, Courtney Harrell, Eric Bellinger H Money 3:01
7. "Yeah 3x"   Brown, Justin Franks, McCall, Sevyn Streeter, Calvin Harris DJ Frank E 4:01
8. "Next to You" (featuring Justin Bieber) Brown, Nasri Atweh, Adam Messinger, Streeter The Messengers 4:25
9. "All Back"   Timothy Bloom Timothy Bloom 4:26
10. "Wet the Bed" (featuring Ludacris) Brown, Derrick Baker, Steven Kubie,[82] McCall, Thomas, Streeter, Andre Merritt, Joseph Bereal, Christopher Bridges Bigg D 4:26
11. "Oh My Love"   Brown, Samuels, Harrell, Bellinger, Streeter H Money 4:44
12. "Should've Kissed You"   Brown, Brian Kennedy, Antwoine Collins, Whitmore, Jr. Brian Kennedy, T-Wiz, Brown* 4:24
13. "Beautiful People" (featuring Benny Benassi) Brown, Marco "Benny" Benassi, Alessandro "Alle" Benassi, Baptiste Benny Benassi, Alle Benassi 3:46

 • (co.) Co-producer

Notes

  • Track 14, "Bomb" (featuring Wiz Khalifa), was on iTunes Stores for a limited time only.

Sample credits

  • Track 5, "She Ain't You", samples "Human Nature" as written by John Bettis and Steve Porcaro, and "Right Here" as written by Brian Morgan.
  • Track 7, "Yeah 3x", contains elements of "I'm Not Alone" as written by Calvin Harris.
  • Track 14, "Bomb" (feat. Wiz Khalifa), samples "Bam Bam" as written by Winston Delano Riley.

Personnel[edit]

Credits for F.A.M.E. adapted from Allmusic.[85]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[105] Gold 35,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[106] Gold 7,500x
United Kingdom (BPI)[107] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[108] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Edition(s) Label
Australia[22][109] March 18, 2011 CD, digital download Deluxe edition Sony Music Entertainment
Sweden[110]
Belgium[111][112] Standard, deluxe edition
Norway[113][114]
Netherlands[115][116]
France[117][118] March 21, 2011
Finland[119][120]
New Zealand[121] Deluxe edition
United Kingdom[122][123] Standard, deluxe edition RCA Records
United States[124][125] March 22, 2011 Jive Records
Canada[126][127] Sony Music Entertainment
Italy[128][129]
Spain[130][131]
Ireland[132] April 4, 2011 Deluxe edition
Japan[84] April 6, 2011

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External links[edit]