Chain Letter (album)

Chain Letter is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Brooke Valentine, released on March 15, 2005, by Subliminal Entertainment and Virgin Records. Work on the album began after Valentine left the female group Best Kept Secret, in order to pursue a solo career. She moved to Los Angeles, California with producer and Subliminal Entertainment CEO Deja the Great to begin work on the album. Valentine enlisted a variety of producers to work on the album including Bink!, Bloodshy & Avant, Déjà "The Great", Jermaine Dupri, Brandon Howard, Lil Jon, Matt Serletic among others.

Chain Letter
Brooke Valentine - Chain Letter.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 15, 2005 (2005-03-15)
Recorded2004–2005
GenreR&B, pop, hip hop
Length55:16
Label
ProducerBink!, Bloodshy & Avant, Déjà "The Great", Josh Deutsch, Heatmakerz, Jermaine Dupri, Brandon Howard, Lil Jon, Matt Serletic, Soul Diggas
Brooke Valentine chronology
Chain Letter
(2005)
Physical Education: The Mixtape
(2009)
Singles from Chain Letter
  1. "Girlfight"
    Released: January 10, 2005
  2. "Long as You Come Home"
    Released: July 5, 2005[1]
  3. "Cover Girl"
    Released: October 18, 2005[2]

Musically the album is predominantly a R&B body of work, that features elements of hip hop, pop, rock, and crunk. Upon release "Chain Letter" was met with critical acclaim from music critics who praised the album's production, with other critics comparing the album to the work of film producer Steven Soderbergh. Commercially the album fared well and peaked at sixteen on the Billboard 200 and three on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. The album sold 290,000 copies in the US.

The album was preceded by the release of the lead single "Girlfight", that features Big Boi from the band Outkast, and Lil Jon. "Girlfight" was a commercial success peaking at twenty-three on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as making appearances on charts in Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and the UK. The second single released from the album was "Long As You Come Home", which reached number 71 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart where it spent 5 weeks. The third single was "Cover Girl", however the song failed to chart.

BackgroundEdit

She started her musical career as a member of the female group Best Kept Secret. To pursue a solo career, she moved to Los Angeles, California with producer and Subliminal Entertainment CEO Deja the Great and signed to Virgin Records.[3]

SinglesEdit

The lead single, "Girlfight", which features Lil Jon and Big Boi was first released on January 4, 2005. It succeeded internationally, peaking in the top fifty in Australia and Ireland, and Top 40 in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The second single, "Long as You Come Home" was released on July 5, 2005. It peaked at #71 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop chart.

The third single, "Cover Girl" was released on October 18, 2005. It failed to chart. “Laugh Til I Cry” was promoted to radio as well.

Music and lyricsEdit

The album's opening song Girlfight was described as a "friendly crunk" song that contains "grunts" as well as guest appearances from Lil Jon and Big Boi. Lyrically the discusses female fisticuffs.[4] “Taste of Dis” is a "hyperactive club banger".[5]

“Blah Blah Blah” is an organ-fueled reggae-funk song that lyrically turns Valentine "into a naughty girl" who sings about still loving her "thug boyfriend, strangely demure and believable."[5] "Cover Girl," is a "somber" song led by an "acoustic guitar and churchy organ swells" and contains a "guitar-based folk song", that lyrically discusses what Valentine has to do "to attract a man".[4][5]

"I Want You Dead" is, a demented revenge fantasy in which she does "funny and gruesome" things to a wrongdoing ex-lover.[4]

“Thrill of the Chase” is described as containing a "Hendrix riff" in which she uses to underscore her rant against her boyfriend for demanding that she commit to him, introducing the song's concept with lyrics including “I’m really feeling you but you don’t understand / I’m not sure if I can settle down with just one man.”[5]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic     [4]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[6]
Rolling Stone     [7]

Upon release "Chain Letter" was met with critical acclaim from music critics.[8]Allmusic gave a positive review to album, giving it four out of five stars. Allmusic praised the album's production continuing to say "A debut that fulfills and promises at the same time, Chain Letter contains 40 faultless minutes of club tracks and a few minutes of seductive balladry. That's not bad for someone who put it all to bed before hitting the age of 20."[4] Entertainment Weekly gave acclaim to the album comparing it to play like Steven Soderbergh's filmography sayingT"here's a little popcorn for the cineplex and some chewier fare for the art houses. But Valentine's eccentricities, unlike Soderbergh's, actually improve her chances for stardom."[6]

Track listingEdit

"Chain Letter" – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Girlfight" (featuring Lil Jon & Big Boi)
  • Lil Jon
  • Deja (The Great)[a]
3:54
2."Taste of Dis"
4:21
3."Long As You Come Home"
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
  • Kevin Spencer
  • Richard Randolph
  • Rickey Smith
  • Walter Millsap
  • Solomon
  • Deja (The Great)[c]
3:25
4."Blah-Blah-Blah" (featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard)Bloodshy & Avant3:32
5."Cover Girl"
  • Howard
  • Valentine
  • Ellis
  • Johnson
  • Mack
  • Owens
  • B. Howard
  • Soul Diggaz
  • Deja (The Great)[b]
4:12
6."Playa" (featuring Jermaine Dupri)
3:23
7."Ghetto Superstarz"
3:33
8."Tell Me Why? (You Don't Love Me)"
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
  • Harrell
  • Bink!
  • Deja (The Great)[c]
2:59
9."Million Bucks" (featuring Queenz Deliz)
  • Bill Elliott
  • Bob Purvis
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
  • Gary Wright
  • Gregory Green
  • Sean Thomas
  • Tina Wright
  • Heatmakerz
  • Deja (The Great)[a]
3:31
10."I Want You Dead"JohnsonDeja (The Great)3:49
11."Dying from a Broken Heart"
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
Deja (The Great)3:52
12."Pass Us By"
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
Deja (The Great)3:50
13."Laugh Til I Cry"
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
Deja (The Great)4:55
14."American Girl"
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
  • Karlsson
  • Dino Fekaris
  • Felix Howard
  • Freddie Perren
  • Jonback
  • Winnberg
Bloodshy & Avant3:38
15."Whatcha Lookin At" (featuring Kilo)
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
Deja (The Great)2:25
"Chain Letter" – Japanese bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
16."Girlfight (Remix featuring Lil Jon, Da Brat, Remy Ma, and Miss B)"
  • Valentine
  • Stewart
  • Johnson
  • Smith
  • Magnet
  • Lil Jon
  • Deja (The Great)[a]
3:07
17."Thrill of the Chase"
  • Valentine
  • Johnson
  • Karlsson
  • F. Howard
  • Jonback
  • Winnberg
Bloodshy & Avant3:20

Notes

  • ^a denotes vocal producer
  • ^b denotes additional producer
  • ^c denotes co-producer

ChartsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "iTunes – Music – Long As You Come Home (Bossman Remix) – Single by Brooke Valentine". Itunes.apple.com. 2005-07-05. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  2. ^ "iTunes – Music – Cover Girl – Single by Brooke Valentine". Itunes.apple.com. 2005-07-19. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
  3. ^ Rashbaum, Alyssa. "Brooke Valentine". You Hear It First. MTV News. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e Chain Letter
  5. ^ a b c d http://www.popmatters.com/review/valentinebrooke-chain/
  6. ^ a b Chain Letter
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ http://popdust.com/2014/01/10/brooke-valentine-is-joining-love-hip-hop-l-a/
  9. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/297656/brooke-valentine/chart?f=305
  10. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/297656/brooke-valentine/chart?f=333
  11. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/297656/brooke-valentine/chart?f=415