X (Chris Brown album)

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X
Studio album by Chris Brown
Released September 15, 2014
Recorded 2012–2014
Genre
Length 60:16
Label RCA
Producer
Chris Brown chronology
Fortune
(2012)
X
(2014)
Singles from X
  1. "Fine China"
    Released: March 29, 2013 (2013-03-29)
  2. "Don't Think They Know"
    Released: June 17, 2013 (2013-06-17)
  3. "Love More"
    Released: July 16, 2013 (2013-07-16)
  4. "Loyal"
    Released: December 19, 2013 (2013-12-19)
  5. "New Flame"
    Released: June 30, 2014 (2014-06-30)

X is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Chris Brown. The album was released on September 15, 2014 by RCA Records as a follow-up to his fifth album Fortune (2012).

Upon its release, X received positive reviews from music critics, who celebrated the record's diverse sound, but were ambivalent towards it's lyrical content. The record was also considered an improvement compared to its critically panned predecessor Fortune. Commercially, the record debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 selling 146,000 copies in its first week, becoming his first album to miss the summit of the chart since Graffiti in 2009. It also became his sixth consecutive top ten debut in the United States.

Preceding the album's release was the lead single "Fine China", which reached number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and peaking inside the top forty of several international markets. It's second single, "Don't Think They Know" featured vocals from Aaliyah. "Love More" was released as the third single on the album, and has reached number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked inside the top forty of several international markets. "Loyal" was released as the fourth and most successful single on the album so far, peaking at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number 10 in the United Kingdom, and "New Flame" was released as the fifth single that has so far peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.

To push the album further, Brown performed and appeared at several televised events and music festivals across the United States.

Background and development[edit]

On November 8 2012, in an interview with radio station Power 106 in Los Angeles, Brown debuted his supposed first single "Nobody's Perfect" of his upcoming sixth album, then under the working title of Carpe Diem, due for release in 2013.[1] The single was never released, and after concluding his Carpe Diem Tour in late 2012, word of Brown's next studio album started to develop. MTV News confirmed development of the album, with Brown collaborating with producers Timbaland, Danja and Diplo.[2]

On March 26, 2013, Brown confirmed the release of X in various interviews and listening sessions.[3] In an interview with Ebony Brown spoke of taking his music in a different direction and changing his sound from pop-infused and sexually explicit, to a more mature, soulful and vulnerable theme for the album.[4] Brown explained the significance of the title:

He explained his mindset of making the album as;

“I tried to stay away from the Euro beats, and not go totally pop. Instead, I wanted to take the Quincy Jones approach. The record pays homage to the Stevie Wonders, the Michael Jacksons, the Sam Cookes. I wanted to put that classic essence of R&B and soul with the new age of music now. There’s a lot of live instruments, and a lot less Auto-Tune. I really wanted to demonstrate my vocal ability, creating the vibe of me singing along with a band.”[5]

Recording and production[edit]

In March 2013, Brown spoke of working with artists and producers such as Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Ludacris, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Wiz Khalifa, Timbaland, Diplo, Danja, and DJ RoccStar among others.[6] On July 4, 2013 Brown confirmed features on his album to include Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B and Kelly Rowland among others.[7] At the same time production would be confirmed by Timbaland, Diplo, Polow Da Don, Danja, Pharrell, and Drumma Boy.[8] On August 5, 2014, Brown said he had "about 50 songs" to choose from for X.[9]

Release and promotion[edit]

On April 29, 2013, Brown announced a release date of July 16 for X.[10] Brown would announce in July that it would be pushed back due to his management, then a new release date of August 20, 2013 was set.[11][12] However, in September 2013, it was revealed that the album has been pushed back to November 19, 2013.[13] That same month, Brown stated that the album will be a double disc album with 10 songs on each disc, and was now due on December 3.[14]

On November 20, 2013, Brown was sentenced to an anger management rehabilitation center for 3 months,[15] putting the December 2013 release of X in jeopardy. To "hold [fans] over until [the X album] drops," Brown released a six-track mixtape entitled X Files on November 19, 2013. It featured collaborations with Busta Rhymes, Ludacris and Kid Ink, including the song "Main Chick".[16] On February 22, 2014, it was announced that the album would be released on Brown's birthday, May 5, 2014. On April 14, 2014, Brown released a teaser of new track "Don't Be Gone Too Long" featuring Ariana Grande, however the song and album were again delayed due to Brown's prison sentence.[17][18] Finally on August 3, 2014, Chris confirmed via instagram that the albums release date would be September 16, 2014.[19] On August 6, 2014, the album cover was revealed.[20] The title track "X" was released as an instant-gratification track alongside the album pre-order on iTunes on August 25, 2014.[21]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "Fine China", was released to digital retailers on March 29, 2013 and was sent to US Rhythmic contemporary radio the following day.[22][23] The song was produced by RoccStar and PK.[4] It has since peaked at number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[24]

The album's second single, "Don't Think They Know," which features late singer Aaliyah, was released to digital retailers on June 17, 2013 and will be sent to Rhythmic contemporary radio in the United States on July 1, 2013.[25][26] The music video was shot in Los Angeles, California and was released on June 17, 2013.[27] It featured scenes from the music video for Aaliyah's 2000 single "Try Again".[28] The song has since peaked at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100.[24]

After his performance at the 2013 BET Awards, Brown announced that the third single from the album would be "Love More" featuring Nicki Minaj. On July 19, he would release its cover art.[29] On July 16, the song was released for digital download[30] and a week later, the song was sent to rhythmic contemporary radio.[31] The music video for the single was filmed on August 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California., with apparently 60 of Brown's backup dancers.[32] It was later released on August 17, 2013.[33] The song has since peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.[24]

On December 19, 2013, a two-track single entitled "Loyal" was released for digital download on iTunes. The first track has an alternate name entitled "West Coast Version" which features rappers Lil Wayne and Too Short while the "East Coast Version" track also features Lil Wayne, but instead features rapper French Montana.[34][35] In March, a third version was released with Lil Wayne but Tyga as the second guest verse.[36] The song has been commercially successful, reaching number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on the UK Official Singles Chart, so far making it Brown's highest charting single from X in both countries.[37]

Another track also announced for single release for March 25, 2014 was a duet with singer Ariana Grande, "Don't Be Gone Too Long".[38] However, due to Brown's prison sentence, the single was indefinitely postponed on March 17.[39]

On June 26, 2014, Brown previewed "New Flame" featuring Usher and Rick Ross and the artwork on his Instagram account.[40] The song was released on June 30, as the album's fifth single.[41][42]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 63/100[43]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[44]
The A.V. Club B–[45]
Billboard 84/100[46]
Complex 4/5 stars[47]
HipHopDX 3/5 stars[48]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[49]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[50]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[51]
USA Today 2.5/4 stars[52]
XXL 4/5 (XL)[53]

X received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 63, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 10 reviews.[54] Christopher R. Weingarten of Rolling Stone said, "Chris Brown's sixth album is adventurous musically and a total mess lyrically – it's almost defiantly oblivious to his past as a domestic-abuser. Throughout, Brown plays the victim: He pretends he's a spurned lover ("X"), claims he was lied to ("Stereotype," which opens with the line "Why are my hands bleeding?") and only engages in self-reflection on a set of sad-sack EDM tracks."[50] Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times said, "Though it sags toward the end, the long-delayed X contains some of his sharpest work, including the propulsive “Time for Love” and “Add Me In,” a chewy soul-funk tune in which he accents his vocals with percussive gasps a la Michael Jackson."[49] Marcus K. Dowling of HipHopDX stated, "Personality aside, Chris Brown’s ability to succeed artistically at delivering sounds in all three sectors of urban Pop makes this release a great, yet disjointed listen. From commercially dominant ratchet Rap/Soul to heartfelt and yearning album cuts to EDM-styled party tracks, Brown’s attempts at appealing to all corners of the urban Pop spectrum at-present are commendable, but possibly a case of the vocalist doing too much."[48]

Miranda Johnson of XXL said, "X certainly proves that Chris Brown’s talent will forever shine through over whatever troubles come his way. With that said, even though the final product comes after a string of problems, the album’s mix of genres, producers and collaborators is sure to be another chart-topping effort for Breezy. It’s safe to say that Chris Brown will forever remain the consumer’s guilty pleasure."[53] Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club stated, "Running 21 tracks and 75 minutes in its deluxe edition, X sometimes threatens to be too much. But there’s enough appealing material to support that runtime. After a troubled stretch that saw the singer finding new ways to bottom out, Brown has emerged with his strongest album, and the first since his 2009 implosion where tolerating his toxic worldview isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying it."[45]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 146,000 copies in the United States.[55] In its second week of sales, the album dropped down to number 6 on the chart, selling 37,000 copies, bringing the total to 183,000 copies.[56]

Track listing[edit]

X — Standard edition[57]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "X"   Diplo 4:20
2. "Add Me In"  
Danja 3:13
3. "Loyal" (featuring Lil Wayne & Tyga)
NicNac 4:24
4. "New Flame" (featuring Usher & Rick Ross)
Count Justice 4:04
5. "Songs on 12 Play" (featuring Trey Songz)
Mel & Mus 3:48
6. "101 (Interlude)"  
1:16
7. "Drown In It" (featuring R. Kelly)
  • Brown
  • Kelly
  • Dennis-Manuel Peters
  • Daniel Coriglie
  • Mario Bakovic
  • Kelly
3:42
8. "Came to Do" (featuring Akon)
  • Brown
  • Balding
  • Kragen
NicNac 3:48
9. "Stereotype"  
  • Brown
  • Youngblood
  • Whitmore, Jr.
  • Hills
  • Aracia
  • Bellinger
  • Johnson
Danja 3:51
10. "Time for Love"  
  • Baptiste
  • Free School
3:45
11. "Lady in a Glass Dress (Interlude)"  
  • Brown
  • Darhyl "Hey DJ" Camper
  • Samuel "Sam Hook" Jean
DJ Camper 1:17
12. "Autumn Leaves" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
  • Brown
  • Youngblood
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Pitts
4:28
13. "Do Better" (featuring Brandy)
Glass John 3:48
14. "See You Around"  
  • Brown
  • Jonathan Solone-Myvett
Anonymous 3:42
15. "Don't Be Gone Too Long" (featuring Ariana Grande)
3:21
16. "Body Shots"  
Razihel 3:42
17. "Drunk Texting" (featuring Jhené Aiko)
  • T. Brown
  • Franks
3:47
Total length:
60:16

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[60] 4
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[61] 23
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[62] 25
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[63] 2
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[64] 5
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[65] 5
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[66] 46
French Albums (SNEP)[67] 6
Irish Albums (IRMA)[68] 5
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[69] 3
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[70] 6
Scottish Albums (OCC)[71] 8
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[72] 37
UK Albums (OCC)[73] 4
UK R&B Albums (OCC)[74] 1
US Billboard 200[75] 2
US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums (Billboard)[76] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Edition(s)
Ireland[77] September 12, 2014 CD, digital download RCA Records Standard, deluxe
Germany[78]
Netherlands[79]
France[80] September 15, 2014
United Kingdom[81]
Canada[82] September 16, 2014
United States[83]
Japan[84]
New Zealand[85]

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External links[edit]