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Album Review

How does one of the most controversial R&B singers today follow up an overstuffed, 45-track album that topped three hours in length? By waiting a mere 19 months to unleash another 32-song double disc for fans who just can't seem to get enough of him.

Chris Brown has never been one for subtleties. The most notable headline attached to his name is neither a song nor a dance, but rather a decade-old story involving his avoidance of prison time for physically assaulting his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.

Brown been described as a modern evolution of Usher and the second coming of Michael Jackson, comparisons that set him up to collaborate with artists such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake early in his career. These days, the 30-year old singer is one of the elder "statesmen" in his genre, having weathered a decade of legal skirmishes since his infamous assault of Rihanna.

But that rep hasn't stopped artists from collaborating with him. Brown’s ninth studio album, Indigo, features 15 different guests, including such heavy-hitters as Drake, Justin Bieber, Nicky Minaj and Lil Wayne (among others).

The result? Indigo is replete with filthy lyrics dealing with perennial Chris Brown topics such as sex, assault, drugs and harsh profanity, as well as a few more self-reflective moments.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Many spiritual allusions pop up on Indigo (as I'll explain in more detail below). Some deliver honest, earnest reflections on Christianity and Brown's idea of the Almighty. On “Dear God,” he admits, “I can’t play God, this your job.” We hear desperation in his voice, and he implores God to “beam me up and let me meet my Maker/So many questions I need answers to.” Brown continues to realize his own limitations on “All on Me”: “With my back to the wall, all my fears/Need to hear from God now.”

“Part of the Plan” focuses on Brown’ daughter, Royalty. “And you came along, changed my life .” It's clear that even though his daughter was not “a part of the plan,” he loves her and the life they now share. And so he chooses optimism in his role as a father.

“Back to Love,” “Sorry Enough,” and “Troubled Waters” show Brown’s progression from wrongdoing to seeking forgiveness. Each song contains elements of genuine affection and extends sincere apologies for past mistakes.

In “Don’t Check on Me,” Justin Bieber helps to remind Brown of the redemptive hope found in looking forward, not back: “Won’t let the ghosts of our past weigh my future down/I’m liberated.”

Objectionable Content

On various songs, Brown references Buddhism, mysticism and even Egyptian mythology. For example, the title track blends mystical and sexual imagery as Brown sings about how a sexual encounter might help to “open up my third eye.”

But most of the time, Brown's more interested in fleshly pursuits than spiritual ones. He’s here to take, take, and take some more. On "Indigo," he also asks a woman suggestively, "Baby, what you wanna do tonight?/What you got for me to try?/ … 'Cause you nasty, babe/You do everything I like." And there's a lot more—and a lot more explicit—lyrics like those elsewhere on the album.

Strong profanity laces each of Indigo’s songs, and often, the foul lines are infused with overt sexual references, too. “Wobble Up” (featuring guest singer Nicki Minaj) encapsulates the album’s mind-numbingly profane actions with nonsensical lyrics that largely focus on the male anatomy. “Need a Stack” follows suit in not being too bashful about Brown's lusty desires: "I’m invited, tell them b--ches, I’m a sexaholic.” That song also includes crude lyrics about Brown's racial preferences, lyrics that have ignited yet another Chris Brown controversy. The album’s most popular song, “No Guidance,” features guest contributor Drake; it crudely and profanely treats women as disposable sex objects.

But it doesn’t end there. Brown’s view of the good life is more than sex. It also includes drug use and alcohol consumption. “Juice” positions Brown as a pied piper of questionable activity. “Give her this liquor, a hit of this blunt/Take it from me as much as you want.” In “Throw It Back,” Brown fantasizes about a night with his female partner: “Got a n-gga wishin’ I can be between your knees."

Two songs, “Cheetah” and “Side N-gga,” romanticize lifestyles of deception and cheating within relationships. Further still, the album’s sonic canvas is littered with explicit references to oral sex, sexual abuse, and crudely vulgar descriptions of both the male and female anatomy. A majority of the songs feature explicit language such as f-words, s-words, “b—ches,” in addition to “p---y” and “n-ggas.”

Summary Advisory

As of late, Chris Brown has received more press coverage for refusing to pay child support and avoiding court orders to turn over phone records than for he has his music. That's obviously not the kind of publicity he wants after releasing a highly anticipated 32-track album.

So months before the album’s release, Brown took to social media to proclaim: “THIS ‘INDIGO’ ALBUM IS ABOUT ENERGY, LOVE, LIGHT, and HAPPINESS.” Upon its release, he pointed to how multiple songs underscore his growth and maturity, a promotional tactic he's used before.

For a rapper with a criminal record longer than many grocery receipts, it’s the right thing to say. But despite some occasional introspective moments, Chris Brown's all-consuming appetite for sex, his misguided ideas about abusive love and his hunger to find meaning in materialism ultimately crater any substantive path toward maturation here.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Debuted at No. 1.

Record Label

RCA Records

Platform

Publisher

Released

June 28, 2019

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Jackson Greer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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