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2.5 out of 4 stars

Graffiti

  • Chris Brown
  • Sony Music/Jive

The blazing, club-focused lead single off formerly family-friendly Chris Brown's third album may be called I Can Transform Ya , but Graffiti 's real goal is to transform the Rihanna-beating pariah back into an R&B star. Transform is one of Brown's best-ever, thanks to an angry robot backing track from edge-pushing producer Swizz Beatz, a typically unhinged Lil Wayne cameo and a surprisingly fierce Brown vocal. A few more cuts continue down this intense, invigorating path - nu-disco rave-up I.Y.A. , hip-hop banger Wait . But Brown also wants to defend himself, alternating between disingenuous apologies ( So Cold ) and mean-spirited excuses ( Famous Girl ) with occasional detours into self-pity ( Lucky Me ). None, except maybe epic ballad Crawl , are good enough to overcome his soiled reputation. If Brown won't move on, why should we? Graffiti's got some hot singles, sure, but ultimately it doesn't transform Brown enough.

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