Discussion: Which is Chris Brown’s Best Album to Date?

Chris Brown has been one of the most consistent artists of this decade. Musically, his ability to create a huge R&B, Dance or Pop track is not matched by many other artists in the industry. Next week, his ninth studio album, Indigo will be released. Many fans will be looking to compare the new album with his previous work, as is the case with most artists nowadays.

We understand that none of Chris Brown’s albums are necessarily bad, as all of them have achieved, at least, a Silver plaque. All of the albums in this list have achieved success which means there is a necessity to be extra critical. So, with that being said, we decided to look at all of Chris Brown’s eight previous solo studio albums and rank them.

Graffiti (2009)

Graffiti did not reach the heights of any of Chris Brown’s previous releases. There is a very high chance that this was due to the controversy that surrounded Chris Brown at the time. The well covered, documented and known story of Chris Brown and R&B singer Rihanna had occurred a few months prior to the release of the album.

The controversy that was surrounding Chris Brown may well have been a contributing factor to the poor ratings and fact that the album did not succeed as well as his other albums. Nevertheless, other factors were that, the album was slated for its Euro-Pop/R&B mixture that did not appear to work as well. This album was somewhat of a change for Chris Brown. It was the beginning of the artist delving into other genres and trying sounds that may not have previously been associated with the R&B genre.

“I Can Transform You” was the pin up song of the album and although it was a success at the time, the song did not reach the heights of his previous hits. Even nowadays, “I Can Transform You” is not one of Chris Brown’s greatest sounding hits. The album as a whole is one of our least favourites with not many stand out tracks being present. Unfortunately, this album did not reach the heights of his two previous projects.

Prior to the release of Graffiti, Chris Brown had stuck to his R&B roots with Chris Brown and Exclusive being solely R&B. As time passes, music genres adapt and change. Graffiti was Chris Brown adapting and changing. The album cover indicates this with Chris Brown holding an electric guitar to indicate that he would be moving away from making purely R&B music.

Nowadays, Chris Brown’s albums and the R&B scene is filled with diverse sounds and genres. In recent years, the introduction of Alternative R&B has meant many artists have shifted over to other genres such as Trap, Dance and EDM.

Graffiti album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA

Rating: 5.5/10

X (2014)

The album was delayed, delayed, delayed and further delayed. The original title for the album was Carpe Diem and the release was due in the summer of 2013. After delays, it was pushed back to August 2013, then November and then in December 2013, Chris Brown was sent to rehab. This delayed the release even further. The album was announced to be released in 2014, on Chris Brown’s birthday, of May 5th but then, he was sent to prison. It was eventually announced that the album would be released in September 2014.

The album was fairly well received with it peaking at number 1 on the US R&B Charts but peaked at number 2 on the US Album Charts and number 4 on the UK Charts.

The album moves away from the EDM and Dance tracks that were prominent in previous albums like F.A.M.E. The biggest track on the album was “Loyal” featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga. The single was a huge success with it going four times Platinum in the US and added to this, “New Flame” featuring Usher and Rick Ross also succeeded. If you take these two tracks from the album then, of course, you still have a project of good tracks but if you have to be really critical…The songs are not on the same level. Whether the fact that the album was constantly delayed played a part in the album not being up to previous standards, who knows.

X album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA/Cooper Sebastian/Courtney Walter

Rating 7.5/10

Heartbreak of a Full Moon (2017)

This is the largest Chris Brown album to date, the whole album consists of forty different tracks. For fans at the time, this was amazing news. Indigo looks to follow a similar suite with this latest release looking to be a double-disc album as well.

Big albums are great for fans but the artist runs a risk of just providing a couple of hit tracks and then padding out the rest of the album with average songs. Big albums should be saved for the likes of Greatest Hit albums. Luckily, for an artist of Chris Brown’s musical ability and calibre, this album did not necessarily pan out exactly like that. The album has some really strong tracks such as “Questions”, “Privacy”, “Pills & Automobiles” featuring Yo Gotti, A Boogie wit da Hoodie and Kodak Black, “Party” featuring Usher and Gucci Mane and also “High End” featuring Future and Young Thug.

Chris Brown has stated in the past that his unreleased catalogue is so vast that he could probably release an album every year without necessarily recording anything new. Heartbreak On A Full Moon really does treat fans with a cargo ship load of new music but many tracks fall to the back and do not get as noticed. It is extremely difficult nowadays for any album to be a “no skip” album and one that makes the listener want to listen to it from start to finish. This makes it even more harder when an album is so vast. Had this album been a bit smaller, with less tracks then this album may of been higher in this list.

Heartbreak on a Full Moon album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA

Rating: 7.5/10

F.A.M.E (2011)

The follow up to the poor performing Graffiti needed to be a success, more so than the need for Exclusive to be, following on from Chris Brown. Arguably, Chris Brown’s career would be finely balanced during this time period.

F.A.M.E, standing for Forgiving All My Enemies, was the 13 track album that featured tracks such as “Yeah 3X”, “Beautiful People”, “Deuces” featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall and “Look At Me Now” featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes. This album has some clear Chris Brown classics on it. “Look At Me Now” still gets played and referenced nowadays and “Deuces” is a certified R&B banger. “Yeah 3X” and “Beautiful People” are examples where R&B and Dance came together and were mixed extremely well… Something that was arguably not achieved on Graffiti.

The album peaked at number 1 on the US Album Charts and the US R&B Album Charts. The album also peaked at number 10 the UK Album Charts which is a far cry from the number 53 that Graffiti achieved in the same charts.

This was the start of the successful Chris Brown era that was delving into other genres such as Techno, Dance, EDM and Pop. This is something that many current R&B artists at the time, dared to do.

F.A.M.E album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA/Team Breezy/Courtney Walter

Rating: 8/10

Chris Brown (2005)

The debut album from Chris Brown was very well received. The 16 track album had the hugely popular “Run It” featuring Juelz Santana, “Yo, Excuse Me Miss”, “Gimme That” and “Gimme That (Remix)” featuring Lil Wayne. The album peaked at number 2 on the US Album Charts and number 1 on the US R&B Charts. The album went Gold in the US and the UK, along with two other countries and went two times Platinum in Australia.

For a debut album, it was a huge success and it is very much a throwback. R&B and music in general has developed in the fourteen years since this release but this album can still stand firm among many R&B albums. There is an obvious contrast in this album and Chris Brown’s current work but that is the sign of an artist that has grown and evolved. Classic.

Chris Brown album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA/Clay Patrick McBride/Courtney Walter

Rating: 8.5/10

Royalty (2015)

Again, following another year of controversy surrounding Chris Brown, the R&B singer became a father. His seventh studio album is named after his first daughter, Royalty. The album does not actual feature any stand out singles. What makes this album so great is the way it was released and the structure of it. Listening to the album for the first time, you may not realise but the album does follow a story and construct. This story and vision was made a lot clearer with the release of the music videos for specific tracks.

Chris Brown stuck with the variety of R&B and Dance/EDM on this album which by this point, became a staple of his albums. This album managed to get a fantastic mix of different genres though. The likes of “Back To Sleep”, “Make Love”, “KAE” and “Little More (Royalty)” sticks to R&B roots that really showcase Chris Brown’s singing ability. The Dance/EDM elements shine through on “Fine By Me” and “Anyway” featuring Tayla Parx. Old school Hip-Hop vibes are mixed with R&B on “Picture Me Rollin'” with Warren G’s 90’s Hip-Hop classic “Regulate” being sampled.

The music videos were released on Youtube for the lead up to the release of the album. Although this might seem a bit of a poor reason but in all honesty, after watching the videos, you can really listen to the album on its own and feel that the songs have a story behind them. Which, at the end of the day, is that not what music is about?

Royalty album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA/Courtney Walter

Rating: 8.5/10

Exclusive (2007)

Following the success of his debut album, Chris Brown released Exclusive in 2007 with much more anticipation. The album did not perform as well, in terms of US chart positions. On the other hand, Chris Brown only peaked at 29 on the UK Album Charts whereas Exclusive peaked at number 3. The album also went two times Platinum in America and three other countries as well as it going Platinum once in the UK. Exclusive actually remains Chris Browns most successful album in terms of numbers to date.

The album was another 16 track recording. The album includes the massively popular “Kiss Kiss” featuring T-Pain, “With You” and “Take You Down”. Due to the success of his debut album, it was a test to make sure that his second album topped his previous success and Chris Brown did not fold under the pressure. This album delivers better than the previous entry.

Rating: 9/10

Exclusive album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA/Dave Hill and Mark Mann/Courtney Walter

Fortune (2012)

The follow up to F.A.M.E was Fortune, the album featured tracks such as “Don’t Wake Me Up”, “Turn Up The Music”, “Strip” featuring Kevin McCall and “Don’t Judge Me”. Although, certificate wise, it did not reach the heights of F.A.M.E, it became a second consecutive album that gained a peak position of number 1 in the US Album Charts and the US R&B Album Charts. The album, also peaked at number 1 in the UK Album Charts, the Dutch Album Charts and the New Zealand Album Charts. The five number 1 positions achieved by this album is one that was not been done by his previous four albums and is still yet to be achieved with any future album.

The album carries on in same vain as F.A.M.E with Dance/EDM influenced tracks such as “Don’t Wake Me Up” and “Don’t Turn Up The Music” being the major hits. As with F.A.M.E, this album includes a clever amount of diversity and still sticks to its R&B roots.

It was hard to choose which album would take top spot. At the end of the day, it sometimes does ultimately come down to personal preference. This album holds the perfect amount of diversity in terms of genres like Royalty but it also did the numbers like previous albums, F.A.M.E and Chris Brown.

Fortune album artwork – Credit: CBE/RCA/Team Breezy/Courtney Walter

Rating: 9/10

Overall, Chris Brown’s catalogue is one that will have R&B and music fans talking about for years to come. As with any artists catalogue of work, their best work is fairly subjective with some albums holding better memories for others. The wonders of music…

Hopefully, Indigo will be Chris Brown’s best album to date but only time will tell with that. Indigo is due for release on this Friday, June 28th.

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