Music Review: Chris Brown is multi-dimensional on 'Royalty'
Chris Brown, "Royalty" (RCA)
Chris Brown knows his strengths, and on his seventh studio album, "Royalty," the singer plays to them with solid success. It's a feat worth applauding, considering how disparate the multi-dimensional singer's specialties seem to be.
There's the electro-dance stuff: the contagiously upbeat "Fine By Me"; the mid-tempo and cool "Zero"; and the Tayla Parx-assisted "Anyway," with its arena-filling waves of synth sounds.
It's good, radio friendly pop music that seems as natural to Brown as traditional R&B fare, which he delivers with expertise on the old school-leaning "Make Love"; the sweet but slightly explicit "Back to Sleep"; and the steamy, Keith Sweat-inspired "Who's Gonna (Nobody)."
Brown pushes the R&B envelope, too, linking with Dutch DJ-producer Afrojack — who worked on Brown's "Look at Me Now" — for the very sexy "Discover," with its trap-inspired production and slinky lyrics. And Brown gives typical R&B groveling a fresh spin on "Proof," thanks, in large part, to help from "Trap Soul" singer Bryson Tiller, who co-wrote the track.
Last, but not least, there is "Brown, the singer-with-rapper-sensibilities," who shows up on "Little Bit," singing, "Baby, you been on that pole too long." The singer's edgier side appears again on the very likable "Wrist," featuring Solo Lucci.
All-in-all, "Royalty" is a worthwhile collection, proving that in a world where "stay in your lane" is common wisdom, it doesn't exactly apply to people like Brown, who have a few lanes to choose from.
Follow Melanie J. Sims at twitter.com/MelanieJoySims