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Record Rating: ***

Chris Brown - Chris Brown - Sony/BMG At barely 16, it's all happening fast for Chris Brown. Tina Davis, a former vice president of rap label Def Jam heard his demo, but was fired before she could sign him to the label. Brown and his mother wanted to stick with Davis and asked her to be his manager. She took on the job, and within weeks she got him a deal with the teen pop label Jive Records.

Just months later, Brown has a platinum album with this self-titled debut, two top records and his first US concert tour. And at this years Grammy he gave one of the strongest performances of a star-filled night in the tribute to Stevie Wonder. First single Run It! went to #1 across the Billboard Hot 100 Singles and became the first single from a male artist to debut at that spot. Follow-up Yo (Excuse Me Miss) is currently in the top ten.

He's hailed as the next big thing and a recent cover of Vibe magazine proclaimed him the future of R&B. Mesmerizing females across the country with his stylish dance moves and adorable baby face, itís reasonable to wonder if this self-titled debut actually carries any weight. As one would expect, given his age, the albumís subject matter is light, fluffy and very predictable ~ this is simply fodder to satisfy the hunger of prepubescent teenage girls. Brown knows his music is meant to appeal to that crowd and succeeds in wooing them.

For the rest of us, heís as gimmicky and manufactured as it can get, rarely overstepping the kind of territory that most pop and rock fans find unbearable. If you want to listen to something that doesnít require a lot of thought, give this a spin.

Read our other reviews:

Enya - Amarantine       Bonnie Rait - Souls Alike - EMI       Massive Attack - Collected       Queensryche - The Essential      


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