By Mira Sripada (’22)
Review: Chris Brown’s Indigo provides its listeners with contemporary RnB, a sound that incorporates elements of reggae, rap and pop
Chris Brown, self-taught singer and dancer, began his career singing in church choirs
and performing in talent shows In 2004, Brown signed with Jive Records where he released his first two albums entitled Chris Brown and Exclusive. Both albums soon became double platinum certified by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). Since the release of Exclusive, Brown has come out with nine studio albums, his most recent being Indigo, released in 2019 through RCA Records.
Referred to as the King of RnB, Brown once again demonstrates his soulful singing skills in his first song named after the album. Perhaps one of the strongest tracks, “Indigo” satisfies its listeners with a rap/pop spiritual outburst of emotion. Accompanied by a bass heavy beat, the line “open my third eye” proves that Brown is capable of hitting the high notes and captivating his listeners. “Indigo” includes a trap beat, a pop – like vocal performance while still maintaining a soulful tone, creating a different sound: contemporary RnB.
The robust 32 – track album conceals even more songs. Six tracks on the album have two names because they are two songs played back to back. These “combination tracks” have a playing time anywhere between 5 to 6 minutes. Out of the six “combination tracks”, the 24th song “BP/No Judgment” is the best example of this method in action. “BP” and “No Judgement” are very similar songs . They are both slow, pop songs infused with aspects of early 2000s music and RnB. The similarities between the two songs allows for a smooth and seamless transition.
Brown’s RnB roots are most noticeable in his slow songs. Particularly, “Girl of My Dreams” creates a calming, sensual ambiance through the use of a slow, rhythmic beat. Additionally, “Come Together (feat. H.E.R)” features a catchy guitar melody, wind chimes and an onset of deep emotion sung by Brown and H.E.R whos voices blend perfectly together. Last but not least, “Dear God” is the heart of rhythm and blues. As Brown sings of his personal adversity, listeners hear him turn to God: “. . . beam me up and let me meet my maker”. In this song, the vulnerability is unmatched by any other in the album.
If RnB, pop and rap were not enough genres for Chris Brown to take on, reggae is also a notable component of Indigo. Specifically, the 19th song “Take A Risk” is a prime example of the way in which Brown incorporates reggae into his music. “Take A Risk” emphasizes a fast – paced consistent pulse, backed up by a tangy, upbeat melody. This same style is present in the song “Lurkin’ (feat. Tory Lanez).” In this track, Tory Lanez uses a Jamaican style of rapping to achieve this reggae sound, underscored by a low, catchy beat.
Although Indigo is overall an exceptional album, there are a few songs that do not contribute to its success. “Temporary Lover (feat. Lil Jon)” sounds like a wannabe party song. The lyrics have no depth and, quite frankly, sound cheesy and overdone. This same problem is present in “Wobble Up (feat. Nicki Minaj & G-Eazy).” Again, this song is unoriginal and a weak attempt at a catchy, upbeat, party song.
In addition to the songs mentioned above, here are some honorable mentions that contribute to the album’s memorability: “No Guidance (feat. Drake)”, “Heat (feat. Gunna)” and “Juice”.
Overall, Chris Brown’s Indigo provides its listeners with contemporary RnB, a sound that incorporates elements of reggae, rap and pop. An album with a startling 32 songs delivers in regards to Brown’s vocal performance, instrumentation and lyrical depth. Brown, a seasoned RnB singer with many albums under his belt, demonstrates that his creativity and originality are limitless. Indigo is a musical masterpiece and reaffirms Chris Brown’s title as the King of RnB.