Chris Brown was only 16 when he debuted with his self titled album in 2005. Young, handsome, good singer excellent dancer Brown was able to able attract interest from alot of people. The Scott Sorch produced song "Run It" debuted at the top the billboard charts and stayed there for several weeks. Songs like "Yo (Excude me Miss)", "Say Goodbye" and "Gimme That" also became big hits and Brown was an overnight sensation. While the album wasn't bad it was far from amazing either with some standouts and plenty of forgettable cuts. I felt like alot of the songs of that album was sounding very simular, On purpose to attract a young audience and to stay updated for how the music on the radio was sounding in 2005. Some people would even say that Chris Brown was trying to emulate his idol Michael Jackson too much, relying on choreopgraphy in videos instead of winning fans with his voice. But Brown was still young and it's hard to blame him, All I can say is that he got huge potential and I hope he can use it in the best of ways and make an even better sophmore effort. 2 years later the album "Exclusive" is finally set for a release after some delays. Can Brown do like the likes his fellow R&B singers Marques Houston, Ne-Yo, Bobby Valentino that all made great albums this year or will he be one of those that just get overshadowed but the tough competition?
After hearing the first new single from the new album, "Wall To Wall" (From Sean Garrett) I had my doubts. The song was big and bouncy but it lacked good hook and the production left alot to be desired. It felt like it needed a more powerful production instead of holding back and each time I watched the video I just looked at the choreopgraphy and completely ignored the music. The song only reached a modest 79# place on the charts so I guess I wasn't the only one who didn't like it. Second single was "Kiss Kiss" produced by T-Pain and while I didn't like it at first it grew on me and slowly the song found it's way to the top of the charts, becoming Brown second chart topper. The song which also feature "hot for the moment" T-Pain is very simple radio-pop song with a repetitive hook that find it's way into your brain but as fun as it is righ now you are gonna wish you never heard it in a few months.
But after listening through this album it gets pretty clear that it got something for everyone, combining the best styles of 2007. The best song for me is the opener "Throwed" from the versatile Bryan Michael Cox. A fast singing Brown in an irressistable uptempo with really nice hook. The lyrics here are more daring then before, but he's afterall 18. Next up is a classic slowjam "Take You Down" from the Underdogs featuring some nice guitar licks. Sound alot like the early 90's but it's really good aswell. It couldn't get better when the Norwegians Stargate's song "With You" arrives. They produced most of Ne-Yo's songs, Beyonce's "Irreplacable" and Rihanna's new song "Hate That I Lobe You". This song follows the same as a rock-pop ballad and it's equally good. "Picture Perfect" was produced by Will.i.am from Black Eyes Peas and it does show. It sounds alot like some songs from his recent album with plenty of synthesizers and exotic drums, it's also about girls. Will guest raps, but this song in particular isn't that good. Big Boi also raps on Dre & Vidal's "Hold Up". It sounds alot like R. Kelly but ironically it's better then most things from his last album. "You" a romantic midtempo was produced by The Dream who's very in-demand right now with his hits "Umbrella" and "Bed". Just like on them they will be repeating the hook plenty of times "bed, bed bed" or here "you, you, you". Great song. A ballad called "Damage" from the Runners is passable but not too memorable.
The Underdogs comes back with an uptempo called "Help Me", while they're mostly famous for ballads this one is a hit warning and sounds alot like the music from Brown's debut album. Tank/Underdogs produces the next song, another ballad "I Wanna Be", it's ok. Jazze Pha who's mostly a Hip Hop producer introduces the next song "Gimme Whatcha Got" in normal manner "Ladies and Gentleman..." then we have a short rap from Lil Wayne (who else?), the song is a midtempo simular to music from his last album. Swizz Beatz is next on "I'll Call Ya", the amazing thing with this song is that it isn't a bouncy uptempo with special effects but a slowtempo/ballad. One of the highlights is Underdogs midtempo "Lottery", it's the perfect hit-single with a killer hook and a somewhat Timbaland sound. A trademark Scott Stoch production called "Nice" made for the clubs feature The Game. Not bad at all. Kanye West is the last producer to appear with "Down". It used some really nice guitar riffs throughout the song and is more rock-pop then soul. The song is alright but if Mr West would rap less it would be for the better. This song closes the album with 16 songs.
Overall, "Exclusive" isn't just better then then Brown's debut album it's one of the best R&B/Pop albums of 2007 and it's fullpacked with great and diverse songs made for everyone. It feature the songs from most in-demand superproducers in R&b/Pop that set the tone for music in 2007. We got the radio-pop song with T-Pain, bouncy club songs from Storch, contemporary R&B from Cox & the Underdogs, crazy 80's retro from Will.i.am, slowjamz from The-Dream, Rock-Pop from Stargate and a collaboration with in-demand rapper/producer Kanye West. What else can you ask for?. "Exlusive" may not follow a scheme and is very diverse but for once it feels just great to have so many diffrent songs for diffrent occasions. When this year comes to and end, I'll just lay back and listen to this album and remember how music sounded in 2007. Check it out!.