What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the four-letter words on this album seem gratuitous; could they possibly have been contrived for the purpose of earning a Parental Advisory sticker? In this case, they add nothing but jarring counterpoint to the artist's baby-doll voice.
What's the story?
Brooke Valentine's voice evokes a young Diana Ross without the benefit of a brilliant producer's (Berry Gordy's) clear aesthetic vision. CHAIN LETTER is musically all over the place. What may be meant to come across as versatility ends up sounding like a mish-mash of styles performed by a talented young woman in dire need of some thoughtful production. The musical high points also happen to be the bits that will make parents cringe the most: cameos by Li'l Jon and Big Boi from Outkast; the songs "Girlfight" (infectious and danceable) and "I Want You Dead" (let's be honest -- we've all felt that way at times). But there just aren't enough high points, nor enough consistent sound or vision, to make this a great album.
Is it any good?
Brooke Valentine's voice, unfortunately, isn't nearly as versatile as her wide swath of musical choices, and as a result some songs are far more successful than others. Even worse, most of the tracks suffer from tediously uninspired arrangements. The artist's breathy, baby-doll voice is pretty, but not forceful enough to make up for a whole lot of insipid instrumentation.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about whether or not girls still feel like they have to talk like the bad boys in order to be taken seriously.