X (Chris Brown album)

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X
Chris Brown X.jpg
Studio album by Chris Brown
Released September 12, 2014
Recorded 2012–14
Genre
Length 60:18
Label RCA
Producer
Chris Brown chronology
Fortune
(2012)Fortune2012
X
(2014)
Fan of a Fan: The Album
(2015)Fan of a Fan: The Album2015
Singles from X
  1. "Fine China"
    Released: March 29, 2013
  2. "Don't Think They Know"
    Released: June 17, 2013
  3. "Love More"
    Released: July 16, 2013
  4. "Loyal"
    Released: December 19, 2013
  5. "New Flame"
    Released: June 30, 2014

X is the sixth studio album by American singer Chris Brown. It was released on September 12, 2014, by RCA Records. The album serves as the follow-up to his fifth album Fortune (2012).

The album was preceded by five singles: "Fine China", "Don't Think They Know", "Love More", "Loyal" and "New Flame". The album's fourth single "Loyal" became its most successful, by peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number 10 in the United Kingdom. Pushing the promotion for the album further, Brown performed and appeared at several televised music events and music festivals across the United States.

X received generally positive reviews from critics, who celebrated the record's diverse sound, but were ambivalent towards its lyrical content. The album was considered a big improvement compared to its critically panned predecessor Fortune.

Commercially, the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 selling 146,000 copies in its first week, becoming his first album to miss the summit of the chart since Graffiti (2009) and his third album to go to number two on the chart overall following Exclusive (2007). It also became his sixth consecutive top ten debut in the United States. By the end of 2015, the album had sold 404,000 copies in the United States. It has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in March 2016.

Background[edit]

On November 8, 2012, in an interview with Power 106's (KPWR) at Los Angeles, California, Brown debuted the track, titled "Nobody's Perfect". The song was supposed to be his first single for his upcoming sixth album, under the working title of Carpe Diem, which was due to be released in 2013.[1][2] The single was never released and after concluding his Carpe Diem Tour in 2012, word of Brown's next studio album started to develop. MTV News confirmed development of the album, with Brown collaborating with producers, such as Timbaland, Danja and Diplo, among others.[3]

On March 26, 2013, Brown announced the release of X, by visited in various interviews and listening sessions.[4] In an interview with Ebony, when Brown spoke of taking his music in a different direction and changing his sound from pop-infused and sexually explicit of the previous album Fortune, to a more mature, soulful and vulnerable theme for the album.[5] He said during an interview for Rolling Stone:

I tried to stay away from the Euro beats, and not go totally pop. 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.[6]

During the same interview for Rolling Stone, Brown explained the significance of the title:

It's the Roman numeral for 10. 5/5/89 is my birthday: 5 plus 5 is 10, and this is my tenth year since I got into music. 'X' is the 24th letter in the alphabet, and I will turn 24 when this album comes out. 'X' is also a metaphor, as in 'ex-girlfriend': it implies you're progressing and moving on in life, not holding on to the past and your old ways.[7]

Recording and production[edit]

In March 2013, Brown spoke about working with artists and producers, such as Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Ludacris, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Wiz Khalifa, Timbaland, Diplo, Danja and RoccStar.[8] On July 4, 2013, Brown confirmed the guest features on the album, including Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B and Kelly Rowland, among others.[9] However, neither Rowland nor Rihanna appear on the album. At the same time, the production would be confirmed by Timbaland, Diplo, Polow da Don, Danja, Pharrell and Drumma Boy.[10] On August 5, 2014, Brown said that he had "about 50 songs" to choose from for X.[11]

Release and promotion[edit]

On April 29, 2013, Brown announced a release date of July 16 for X.[12] 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.[13][14] However, in September 2013, it was revealed that the album has been pushed back to November 19, 2013.[15] In the 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.[16]

On November 20, 2013, Brown was sentenced to an anger management rehabilitation center for three months,[17] putting the December 2013 release of X in jeopardy. To "hold [fans] over until [the X album] drops," Brown released a mixtape, titled X Files on November 19, 2013, which consists of six tracks and features guest appearances from Busta Rhymes, Ludacris and Kid Ink, including the song "Main Chick".[18] 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.[19][20] On August 3, 2014, Chris announced via Instagram that the album's release date will be on September 16, 2014.[21] On August 6, 2014, the album cover was revealed.[22] The title track "X" was released as an instant-gratification track alongside the album pre-order on iTunes on August 25, 2014.[23]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, titled "Fine China" was released on March 29, 2013, and it was sent to US rhythmic contemporary radio the following day.[24][25] The production on the song was handled by RoccStar and PK.[5] The song has since peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100.[26]

The album's second single "Don't Think They Know", was released on June 17, 2013, and it was sent to rhythmic contemporary radio in the United States on July 1, 2013.[27][28] The song features a guest appearance from the late R&B singer Aaliyah, and the production on the song was handled by Mel & Mus.[29] The music video was shot, and filmed in Los Angeles, California and was released on June 17, 2013.[30] It features scenes from the music video for Aaliyah's 2000's single "Try Again".[31] The song has since peaked at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100.[26]

The album's third single, titled "Love More" featuring Nicki Minaj was announced, which Brown performed the song along with Minaj at the 2013's BET Awards. On July 19, he released its cover artwork.[32] On July 16, the song was released for digital download[33] and a week later, the song was sent to rhythmic contemporary radio.[34] The music video for the single was filmed on August 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California, with apparently 60 of Brown's backup dancers.[35] It was officially released on August 17, 2013.[36] The song has since peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.[26]

On December 19, 2013, the album's fourth single, titled "Loyal" was released for digital download on iTunes. There are two versions to the song, the "West Coast Version" featuring Lil Wayne and Too Short, while the "East Coast Version" featuring Lil Wayne, and another fellow rapper French Montana.[37][38] In March 2014, the third and final version officially was released, featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga.[39] The song has been commercially successful, reaching at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, so far making it Brown's highest charting single from X in both countries.[26]

On June 26, 2014, Brown previewed the track, titled "New Flame" featuring Usher and Rick Ross, along with the cover artwork on his Instagram account.[40] The song was released on June 30, 2014, as the album's fifth single.[41][42] The song peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Other songs[edit]

The song, titled "Don't Be Gone Too Long" was announced for single release for March 25, 2014, which in its original form features Ariana Grande.[43] However, due to Brown's prison sentence, the single was eventually scrapped on March 17, even though the music video had already been filmed.[44] Grande was eventually missing from the album version of the song having been replaced by Cathy Dennis (the song's writer).

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
AnyDecentMusic? 5.9/10[45]
Metacritic 63/100[46]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[47]
The A.V. Club B–[48]
Billboard 4/5 stars[49]
Complex 4/5 stars[50]
HipHopDX 3/5[51]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[52]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[53]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[54]
USA Today 2.5/4 stars[55]
XXL 4/5 (XL)[56]

X received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 63, based on 11 reviews.[46] Andy Kellman of AllMusic said, "Brown combines memorable hooks with some stellar production work on the rubbery disco-funk of "Add Me In" (courtesy of Danja) and the blithe, swaying "Time for Love" (a collaboration with Jean-Baptiste and Free School). In these and a few other songs, romantic affection, expressed with seemingly genuine sweetness, takes precedence over sexual aggression and petulance."[47] Brad Wete of Billboard said, "Once gratuitous fillers are skipped, gems appear, especially on the closing half, where Brown is lucid about his tabloid love life."[49] 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."[53] 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."[52]

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."[51] Miranda Johnson of XXL said, "X certainly proves that Chris Brown's talent will forever shine through over whatever troubles come his way. It's safe to say that Chris Brown will forever remain the consumer's guilty pleasure."[56] Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club stated, "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."[48] Alexa Camp of Slant Magazine said, "Aside from the standout club banger "Add Me In", which is steeped in arithmetic and trigonometry metaphors, and "101", which finds Brown doing "101 on the 101", the album's lyrics largely eschew mathematical objects in favor of soul-baring like "Autumn Leaves" and sex talk like "Songs on 12 Play", which likens a girl to a song from the titular R. Kelly album."[54]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 146,000 copies in the United States.[57] In its second week, the album dropped to number six on the chart, selling 36,000 copies.[58] In its third week, the album dropped down to number nine on the chart, selling 23,000 copies.[59] In its fourth week, the album dropped down to number 21 on the chart, selling 16,000 copies.[60] By November 2015, the album has sold 404,000 copies in the United States.[61]

On March 25, 2016, X was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for combined album sales, on-demand audio, video streams, track sales equivalent of one million.[62]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[63]

X – Standard edition[64]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "X" Diplo 4:20
2. "Add Me In"
Danja 3:13
3. "Loyal" (featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga)
4:25
4. "New Flame" (featuring Usher and 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
  • Brackins
Nic Nac 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)
  • B.A.M.
  • RoccStar
4:28
13. "Do Better" (featuring Brandy)
John 3:48
14. "See You Around"
  • Brown
  • Jonathan Solone-Myvett
Anonymous 3:42
15. "Don't Be Gone Too Long"
3:22
16. "Body Shots"
Razihel 3:42
17. "Drunk Texting" (featuring Jhené Aiko)
  • Brown
  • Franks
3:47
Total length: 60:18

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

  • Aaliyah – featured artist
  • Jhené Aiko – featured artist
  • Akon – featured artist
  • Ambience & Soundz – producer
  • The Anonymous – producer
  • Marcella Araica – mixing
  • B.A.M. – producer
  • Babydaddy – producer
  • Mario Bakovic – producer
  • Jean Baptiste – producer
  • Brandy – featured artist
  • Chris Brown – creative director, executive producer, primary artist
  • Tommy "TBHITS" Brown – producer
  • Darhyl "DJ" Camper Jr. – producer
  • Maddox Chhim – assistant
  • Daniel Coriglie – producer
  • Tom Coyne – mastering
  • Danja – producer
  • Diplo – producer
  • Steven Franks – producer
  • Free School – producer
  • Abel Garibaldi – engineer
  • Glass John – producer
  • Mark "Exit" Goodchild – vocal engineer
  • Trehy Harris – assistant
  • Eliot Hazel – photography
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • Count Justice – producer
  • Ryan Kaul – assistant
  • R. Kelly – featured artist, producer
  • Kendrick Lamar – featured artist
  • Lil Wayne – featured artist
  • Donnie Lyle – music direction
  • Majors – programming
  • Mel & Mus – producer
  • Ian Mereness – engineer
  • Mike G – management
  • Natural – engineer
  • Nic Nac – producer
  • Nicki Minaj – featured artist
  • Brent Paschke – guitar
  • Dennis-Manuel Peters – producer
  • Mark Pitts – executive producer
  • Razihel – producer
  • RoccStar – producer
  • Rick Ross – featured artist
  • Brian Springer – engineer, mixing, vocal engineer
  • Andrew Swanson – drum programming
  • Bu Thiam – management
  • Trey Songz – featured artist
  • Tyga – featured artist
  • Usher – featured artist
  • Cooper Sebastian – graphic artist
  • Courtney Walter – art direction, creative director, design

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
South Africa (RISA)[96] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[97] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[62] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

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

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Edition(s) Ref.
Ireland September 12, 2014 RCA Records
  • Standard
  • deluxe
[98]
Germany [99]
Netherlands [100]
France September 15, 2014 [101]
United Kingdom [102]
Canada September 16, 2014 [103]
United States [104]
Japan [105]
New Zealand [65]

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