Bad News: Chris Brown's New Song Is Good

Is it OK to like the music but hate the abusive jerk behind it?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2009 1:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – Chris Brown may be a reprehensible guy, but unfortunately, he can still sing. With the ink barely dry on his guilty plea, Brown released the lead single on his upcoming album last month, and it’s actually good, Jonah Weiner is sad to report. The instrumentals from Swizz Beatz lay a tight, two-note guitar riff onto what sounds like a “cyborg war chant,” for an effect that’s “marvelously tense.”

It’s almost possible to forget Brown here; his voice is “restrained to the point of anonymity.” But then there’s the music video, which defiantly puts him center stage. It’s tempting to decide you like the art, but hate the artist, but is such a divorce even possible in today’s personality-driven pop? Maybe we should await the inevitable Brown-free remix. That’ll be “easier to like,” Weiner concludes at Slate, “there’s just no guarantee it’ll be as good.” (Read more Chris Brown stories.)