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Brooke Valentine: Chain Letter


Brooke Valentine: Chain Letter

Label:Virgin
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2005
Genre:Soul

By Al Shipley | Posted 6/8/2005

Introduced with the Lil’ Jon-assisted lead single “Girlfight,” Brooke Valentine may appear to follow in the footsteps of Ciara, an R&B vixen cooing politely over crunk beats. But the rest of the 19-year-old Texan’s debut, Chain Letter, depicts a much different character, one who has a wicked sense of humor and whose lyrics often stray from traditional R&B territory. Ballads about heartbreak and up-tempo dance numbers remain, along with a bouncy, gothy stomp called “I Want You Dead” that begins with the couplet “I ran your car into a ditch/ poked your holes in your prophylactics.” And “Ghetto Supastarz” ends with a hilariously over-the-top monologue delivered in an exaggerated Valley Girl accent.

Chain Letter boasts a large supporting cast of hip-hop producers, such as Jermaine Dupri, Bink!, and the Heatmakerz, but two of the standout tracks are produced by Bloodshy and Avant, best known for Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” The Brooke Valentine of songs like “American Girl” resembles her contemporaries on urban radio less than, say, Pink, who started out as an R&B artist but later broke out with a sound that was more individualized and yet more pop. There’s plenty on Chain Letter to recommend to the average R&B fan, but there’s even more for a broader audience to enjoy. And you can only hope that, like Pink, Valentine gets a chance to indulge her eccentricities with a bolder second album.

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