Album Reviews: Chris Brown, Tinashe, Saigon


Chris Brown, (RCA)

Finally, the pop star doesn’t have to worry as much about previous transgressions as he does pleasing his fans. But his sixth studio album is uneven and bloated: The good is great and the bad is an uninspiring drag. “Loyal” allows Brown’s personality to shine for a catchy radio smash. “Autumn Leaves” and “Drunk Texting” are smooth grooves that work. Unfortunately, Brown overstays his welcome and attempts to appease all audiences. Rudimentary songwriting rears its ugly head on “Add Me In,” while the R. Kelly-assisted carnal romp “Drown In It” feels creepy. Brown has talent, but in this case, less is more. ★★✩✩✩


Tinashe, Aquarius (RCA)

What separates Tinashe from every other R&B singer? To be honest, nothing at all. That’s the problem with the 21-year-old’s debut album: There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done by her peers Ciara, Jhené Aiko and the late Aaliyah. Tinashe is good at what she does—as exemplified on the fun club frolicker “2 On”—but she simply doesn’t excel next to her contemporaries. A stellar list of producers, which includes DJ Mustard and Boi-1da, certainly helps out, but you’ll be hard pressed to pick her out of a musical lineup. ★✩✩✩✩


Saigon, The Greatest Story Never Told 3: The Troubled Times of Brian Carenard (Squid Ink Squad)

After spending the past year in a Love & Hip Hop reality TV wasteland, Saigon is back to prove his worth as an MC. He’s always been exceptional on the mic, but the potent messages in “Street Gospel” and “Best Mistake” are drowned out by overproduced instrumentation. However, when paired with DJ Premier on “Let’s Get Smart,” the gritty production is the perfect backdrop for Saigon to lament on industry ignorance. Questionable choices aside, the lyrical content is a cut above the rest and makes GSNT 3 worth a listen. ★★★✩✩

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