‘And Then’... there was Chris Martin
For its 40th anniversary, VP Records is making everything a big deal, including the release of Rising Stars alumnus Chris Martin’s sophomore album, And Then. Last Friday evening, the label took over multiple platforms for the album’s launch. In a sweeping move, the launch event was broadcast live on RETV and FAME FM and streamed for watch parties in Miami and New York via YouTube. They also staged a mini-concert which revealed that Martin is as good as, or even better than, his fans remember.
And Then, a follow-up to Martin’s 2017 debut album, Big Deal, is in keeping with a persona we already know. The 15-track-long compilation promises to deliver the familiar tunes to tickle the ladies but also some to rile up men who tuned in to Cheater’s Prayer. Fans can relish the fact that And Then continues to serenade women and elicit subconscious high-fives from the guys. The new album opens with the already popular track Life, which had its music video premiere on billboard.com, followed by Come Back, a single which already counts over one million views on YouTube. “In the song, I’m asking my girlfriend to come back. She left me because I was doing bad things. I was drinking and doing other things that I wasn’t supposed to do,” Martin explained.
As he serenades about the importance of compromise and understanding, Come Back is followed by the surely polarising track Bun Fi Bun. The launch’s live studio audience and event hostess Debbie Bissoon were thrown into a tizzy when discussing the album’s third track.
The singer attempted to explain his motivations for the song, which will surely stir much more debate in the future: “As men, it’s just a fact – it rough, man. It hard. It’s very difficult. I feel like commitment in its purest form is very difficult. It is a choice, but I don’t want to seh nuttin wrong … . I don’t feel like men were born with the chip to accept it. What the song is saying is, if you found out that I did something wrong, don’t stay with me and do the same thing I did. Just leave me and do what you want to do.”
The controversial Bun Fi Bun is followed by Can’t Dweet Again, a song written in response to men who announce their sexual ‘conquests’ with the advice that when a woman has moved on, it’s hopeless to harp. The album continues following the general themes of love, companionship and the potential issues or circumstances that accompany such unions.
For the second half of the one-hour-long broadcast, the singer was tasked with doing what he does best. He closed the televised launch with an invigorating performance that cemented why we once called him a ‘Rising Star’ and why he now maintains his stride as a successful, relevant contemporary 15 years later. Martin opened the stage with Life, the familiar song that got his supporters in the groove. Keeping the energy high, he followed with Can’t Dweet Again, one of the album’s new tracks called Don’t Tell, and Bun Fi Bun, a song begging to be remixed.
A concert-ready Martin sang a few more songs from the album, including Do It All, Be With You(a cover), and Come Back, before closing with his biggest hit, Big Deal. But it was a song in the middle of his brand-new set that perfectly demonstrated the singer’s growth. He and the Jam Downs band performed a rousing, electric rendition of one of the album’s tracks called Still Got Feelings For You that lifted hands in the air and had the band revisiting the hook thrice over before the final crescendo.
Legendary producer Robert Livingston handled the bulk of the album’s production, along with contributions from Llamar ‘Riff Raff’ Brown, Clive from Chimney Records and Frenchy from London.
Martin has already hit the promotional trail, fulfilling commitments in Africa, Europe and North America since last month. Now, he is looking forward to upcoming dates in New York, Trinidad and Tobago, and Bermuda and at home.