Bobby Brown

The Masterpiece

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The Masterpiece is nothing of the sort. It's Bobby Brown's worst solo album, lacking memorable hooks and passable lyrics necessary to back up the heaving bombast. Many of the productions aim for the boisterous, slick sound of contemporary pop-R&B. While a couple tracks approach the mark, even the low-key moments, like the relatively sweet yet accusatory and somewhat nasty "Damaged," are harsh on the ears, devoid of finesse. The same can be said for most of Brown's vocals; when stretched to the limit, his sound is shrill and shouty, and not in the effective manner of a skilled rock vocalist. Poor songwriting is on display from the opening song's first verse: "Meanwhile I'm trying to find the strength to move on/Searching the streets, trying to find you a clone." Context indicates that Brown is trying to find a clone of -- not for -- his ex. Later on, he rhymes "me" with "see" and "he," and an attempt at a contemporary country anthem is well-intentioned but ultimately clumsy. Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill are duet partners; neither one of the songs is worthy of a New Edition album.

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