Chris Brown’s latest – an ambitious and expansive 45-track double album – sees the artist testing the patience and fortitude of his dedicated fans. The album features an impressive array of guest appearances (Usher, DeJ Loaf, Lil Yachty, Ty Dolla $ign, and Kodak Black among others), and the range of styles and moods to be expected of such a mammoth release. Already record-setting (the fastest album by a male singer to hit gold in the US), how does this juggernaut stack up to his previous efforts?
Eschewing a tightly constructed concept, Heartbreak On A Full Moon is a scattershot compilation, a rambling tour through Brown’s musical ambitions. The first disc is a hedonistic mix of moody and lascivious, Brown channeling Kevin Lyttle’s Turn Me On for the single Questions with some self-referencing lyrics (“She only love me ’cause I’m dangerous / That pum pum something like angel dust”). Elsewhere, Everybody Knows sees Brown’s well-documented misogyny emerge, taking aim at the women who’ve ‘wronged’ him (“Before me, you wasn’t important / Now you actin’ like you earned it / Go and smile for the camera / I hope that all this shit was worth it”).
The second half of the album has a more somber feel, with the break-up tracks Deuces, Don’t Judge Me, and New Flame showing a more emotional side to the party animal of the previous 20-plus tracks. Yellow Tape is a dark reflection of the underbelly of fame that casts Brown as the centre of a seedy world of violence and murder (“Had a meeting with the devil last week”).
With almost all double albums, concept or otherwise, there’s a case to made for judicious editing. Despite the presence of some decent tracks (inevitable given the sheer volume here), I can’t see many of Brown’s fans having the patience to last the course. At 2 hours 40 minutes, Chris Brown’s attempt at grandiosity winds up a bloated, mixed bag.