Torchbearer 

Pop sensation Chris Brown’s sophomore release

Chris Brown has been well known to the screaming underage masses for a minute now, but he broke out to a wider audience at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards show. There he perfectly parroted the Gloved One’s moonwalk dance, prompting Justin Timberlake to tell the world he felt old.

Chris Brown has been well known to the screaming underage masses for a minute now, but he broke out to a wider audience at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards show. There he perfectly parroted the Gloved One’s moonwalk dance, prompting Justin Timberlake to tell the world he felt old. This indicated the torch has been passed, and Brown is a more than able standard-bearer for teen-pop-sensation-of-the-moment, a distinction with a long and glorious history. (See Elvis, The Beatles, etc.)

The first singles off the album, “Wall to Wall” and especially “Kiss Kiss,” are on fire, and the requisite power ballad, “With You”—underscored with a deliciously unexpected acoustic guitar riff—is sure to inspire heavy petting after junior high dances across the country. Sure, the overproduced tracks disingenuously alternate between glorifying playing the field and extolling commitment, but what were you expecting? Next you’re going to complain about the deluge of guest appearances, ranging from Lil Wayne (obligatory) to will.i.am (vomitaceous) to Kanye West (ill-conceived) to T-Pain (Lik-M-Aid tasty). But Brown is good-looking, has solid moves, and even co-wrote many of the tunes. Signed, sealed, delivered—he’s yours. —Ben Westhoff

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