By Lau Kit-wai
He's only 16, but Chris Brown is one of America's hottest R&B stars. With just one full-length album - self-titled debut Chris Brown - under his belt, he is already being compared to Usher and Tevin Campbell.
Brown owes much of his success to his frankness. The songs in Chris Brown revolve around a single theme - young love. Brown doesn't pretend to be someone older, and he tells stories that most young people can relate to: falling for a girl at a party (Run It), introducing yourself to a girl on the street (YO) or admiring an attractive young lady (Poppin).
Chris Brown single Young Love, produced by R&B group The Underdogs, sets the tone for the album. It's a well-crafted,
mid-tempo R&B track that includes a sample from '70s blues classic Side Show. Young Love justifies puppy love, sending a message to adults that teenagers know what love is all about. It's a teenage party anthem that has none of the cynicism found in hip-hop and contemporary R&B music.
Brown plays it safe by sticking to simple, non-controversial themes. Adults will love him for his cute innocence and teenagers will regard him as their spokesman. His young age and promising talent allows him to focus on youthful themes with first-hand insights.
Chris Brown is an album that provides a coming-of-age experience for young listeners who want to hear songs they can easily relate to.