Even after more than a decade consistently delivering hits and building the case for him being the preeminent R&B star his generation, Chris Brown continues to keep the music world at his beck and call. However, with the endless stream guest appearances and random singles making him somewhat an omnipresence, finding ways to cut through the monotony familiarity, regardless it leads to success, is a task in itself. While many artists have reverted to leaning on gimmicks to create fanfare and public interest, that course action can backfire, as it has time and time again in the past. So when Chris Brown announced that Heartbreak on a Full Moon, his eighth studio album, would consist 40 full-length songs, the news left the music world appalled, with many unable to fathom the idea such an excess creative expression.
Brown's first album since unleashing Royalty in 2015, Heartbreak on a Full Moon is an ambitious effort that finds the crooner conveying feelings heartache and betrayal amid collaborations with some hip-hop's finest. Guitar licks greet listeners on "Lost & Found," Heartbreak on a Full Moon's opening salvo, on which Breezy admonishes a fair-weather lover for her flighty ways over production by EarDrummers Entertainment, J-Bo and Xeryus L. Gittens. "This is not the lost and found/Whose time are you wasting now?" he ponders, a question many listeners will likely assume is directed towards Karrueche Tran, Brown's ex-girlfriend with whom he enjoyed a high-prile, albeit tumultuous, on-and-f relationship with from 2011 until 2015. Tran, who called it quits with Brown after discovering that he was the father a newborn child, is never named for the duration the album, but ultimately serves as its muse.
A prodigious talent with a penchant for delivering syrupy ditties, Breezy wastes no time showcasing that prowess on ferings like the D.A. Doman produced "Privacy," the singer's most recent composition to dominate radio. While the stigma from the 2009 domestic violence incident between him and Rihanna may continue to haunt him, Brown has managed to evade a substantial amount long-term backlash, much like R&B star R. Kelly, who has enjoyed own his fair share controversy. Kelly – and sultry singer Jhené Aiko – appears alongside Brown on "Juicy Booty," which interpolates "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G., and includes a sample "California Love," by 2Pac, is an addictive fering that finds two the most prolific male R&B artists the past two decades joining forces for one Heartbreak on a Full Moon's early highlights.
The album's title track is a departure from the previous sample-based ferings and features one Chris Brown's more measured performances, as he cascades over the Derrick D. Beck & Don City produced backdrop. Notorious for his bedroom romps, the R&B's resident bad boy gets naughty on "Sip," with racy lyrics like "Promise I'm not cocky, I just know I can fuck you right/Give me the time day, babe, and I'm gon' make it last all night," before picking up the tempo on "Everybody Knows," a sleek composition on which Breezy comes f as lovelorn while reveling in his melancholy. Additional standouts from the first portion Heartbreak on a Full Moon include the Gucci Mane and Usher-assisted "Party," as well as ""Pills & Automobiles," which finds Chris Brown calling in added reinforcement in the form costars Yo Gotti, A Boogie wit da Hoodie and Kodak Black, but reaches its peak with a pair subdued inclusions in "No Exit" and "Hurt the Same." The latter serves as an open letter to a woman that was absent during his time need, particularly his stints in rehab and prison throughout 2013 and 2014. "Going crazy, did my time, you ain't send me mail/Takin' L's when I was tryna make you win, ain't had no bail, Brown belts, closing out the proceedings with a moment transparency that speaks to his wounded ego and broken heart.
After exorcising the demons love lost throughout the first half Heartbreak on a Full Moon, Breezy appears to turn over a knew leaf on the latter half, beginning with the island-tinged number, "I Love Her." "Baby, I know you gon' blame me for every problem/When everybody got some skeletons in their closet," he reasons, pressing his love in spite his intuition and advice from friends before switching to ballad mode on "Nowhere," an fering that captures him in a love-struck state. Full subtle nods to R&B jams yesteryear, Heartbreak on a Full Moon delivers frequent moments nostalgia, as Chris Brown pays homage to Michael Jackson's "Remember The Time on "Even" and "Brazilian Rhyme (Beijo Interlude)" on "Frustrated," but is dominated by live instrumentation. "Tell Me What to Do" and "Enemy," both balance musicality with digitized percussion, resulting in two the more refined songs on the album, the former powered by classical piano keys, while the latter is anchored by rollicking guitar riffs. "Yellow Tape," Heartbreak on a Full Moon's closing selection, finds Chris Brown eschewing emotion while finding comfort in bravado, making for a triumphant moment that captures the vocalist at his most cocksure. "Bitches piled up in my crib like a Colosseum/After 3 A.M., you know we getting freaky/Hella one night stands, we just catching feelings," he croons, reminiscing on his more decadent days prior to his rehabilitation and subsequent incarceration while sending shots at former friends over production by Velocity Music & Antwan "Amadeus" Thompson.
In an age where attention spans are shorter, simply having the gall to entertain creating an album with 40 songs on it takes a certain amount gall, but Chris Brown defies the odds with Heartbreak on a Full Moon, an album that manages to maintain its overall quality despite the sheer quantity music. Clocking in at over three hours in length, Heartbreak on a Full Moon may be a bit to chew on in one sitting, however every portion is a enticing one and sure to have you returning for more. While most artists refer to their music as food for thought, and their body work as an entree, Chris Brown puts forth a buffet uptempo jams, mid-tempo grooves, and impassioned ballads that hit more than they miss. Over the course 40 songs (and 5 bonus cuts), Chris Brown proves himself to be an indefatigable vessel for artistry, making Heartbreak on a Full Moon a statement project that will go down among the most ambitious albums its time.