5 Best Songs on Chris Brown’s ‘Exclusive’
There's something about youthful expression that gets the public going—particularly in entertainment. Witnessing the preternatural talent of child prodigies is as exciting as it gets and has resulted in some of the best art the world has to offer. While children from all over the world have made their marks on culture and society, in America, the fixation on our youngest stars is a focused one, to say the least. In 2005, a young man named Chris Brown become the newest teen idol to captivate America with his self-titled debut album, which spawned hits like the No. 1 Hot 100 smash "Run It," and favorites "Excuse Me Miss" and "Say Goodbye."
Selling over two million copies in the United States, Chris Brown would announce the Virginia native as one of R&B's hottest stars, with some predicting that he would become the next superstar male artist to carry the torch for the genre. However, making the transition from being a teenybopper to a budding sex symbol with the ability to evolve their sound, image, and style is easier said than done, with more than a few former teen idols faltering under the pressure. Although the stakes were high, when the smoke cleared, Chris Brown emerged victorious off the strength of his sophomore album, Exclusive, which would prove him to be more than a flash in the pan, but the real deal.
Debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, Exclusive would feature stronger songwriting with more emotional depth than his those on his debut. The album would also duplicate the commercial and critical success of its predecessor, earning double-platinum certification and garnering positive reviews. With a mix of party-starters, pop ballads, and sensuous compositions that saw him rise to the occasion, Chris Brown evaded the sophomore slump a number of artists endure, putting forth a body of work that solidified his position as the prince of r&b.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Chris Brown's sophomore release, we picked out the five best songs from Exclusive and ranked them in order. Did your favorite make the cut?
Chris Brown delivers an up-tempo composition in "Wall to Wall," the first single released in anticipation of the singer's sophomore release, Exclusive. Produced by Sean Garrett and Great Scott, "Wall to Wall" would be well-received by critics upon its release, but would perform modestly, peaking at No. 79 on the Hot 100. However, "Wall to Wall" is often regarded as a fan favorite from Exclusive, and remains one of the album's stronger inclusions.
"Sometimes you don't realize what you've done, until you see the damage," Chris Brown purrs at the onset of "Damage," one of the more intense deep cuts from Exclusive. Produced by The Runners, "Damage" was a display of Chris Brown's artistic maturity, straying from the teenage love musings that dominated his self-titled debut for content with increased emotional depth, making it a pivotal moment in the evolution of Breezy.
After the lead-single for Exclusive failed to mirror the success of his previous offerings, Chris Brown went back to the drawing board, returning to form with the T-Pain assisted single, "Kiss Kiss." The song, which was co-written by Brown and T-Pain and produced by the latter, would ratchet up the charts, peaking at No. 1 on the Hot 100, giving Breezy his second chart-topping hit to date.
Picking up where he left off with his 2006 single, "Poppin'," Chris Brown upped the ante the Exclusive track "Take You Down," a racy offering exuding sensuality and finding the crooner continuing to shed his boy next door image. Produced by The Underdogs and Lamar Edwards, "Take You Down," which was the fourth single released from Exclusive, would become Chris Brown's first bonafide slow jam and is essential to his endless catalog of hits.
After the resounding success of his debut album, the pressure for Chris Brown to duplicate that magic with Exclusive was high, to say the least. "With You," the third song released in anticipation of the album, would become Brown's fourth single to reach the Top 10, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. One of his most seismic singles to date, "With You" proved that Breezy is as adept at producing pop ballads as he is upbeat party fare, another mark of the maturation from his debut to his sophomore set.