Is It Wrong to Like Chris Brown's Music?

The crooner pled guilty to assault--should that be the end of his music career?

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With the upcoming release of Chris Brown's third album "Graffiti," pop music critics of different stripes are asking the same question: what do you do when bad people release good music? Last February, Brown shocked his fans when he brutally beat his ex-girlfriend Rihanna during a confrontation. Now, with his single "I Can Transform Ya" hitting the radio waves, listeners are squirming. Last week, Chicago Public Radio's Sound Opinions host Greg Kot sounded off on the R&B singer:

Chris Brown... as far as I'm concerned shouldn't have a career anymore. The man's a brutal thug. He has plead guilty to felony assault and it's going to be very hard to ever hear a romantic song from him again without thinking of the crime--it was very real and very disturbing.

Slate's Jonah Weiner agrees. Neither critic can tolerate Brown--given his violent transgressions--continuing to sing silky ballads about love, compassion and tenderness:

There's something audacious about Brown's return, and not just because it took a scant three months for him to slide back into album-promo mode after entering his guilty plea. Brown has been exposed in the Rihanna saga, after all, as more than an abusive boyfriend. Promising affection and pleasure in his music but brutish and violent in real life, his love oil turned out to be snake oil: An R&B loverman best known for a domestic-violence conviction is an insupportable contradiction.

Is it wrong to like Brown's music given his crime?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.