Singer-songwriter J. Brown is living his best life right now, experiencing some well-deserved recognition and success with the release of his debut album Chapter & Verse. His single “Don’t Rush” featuring Tank is his fifth song to hit the charts, and he is fresh off impressive performances at the Summer Spirit Festival in the DMV and legendary NYC venue SOB’s. He keeps the momentum going with the release of his latest single from Chapter & Verse, a smooth ballad with a transparent message entitled “I Just Can’t Love You.”
As the title suggests, Brown keeps it a buck on “I Just Can’t Love You.” He sings about the struggle when someone admits they are not ready to love someone else until they first learn to love themselves. J. Brown provided some perspective about the song, stating via press release, “It touches on mental health awareness and how one can recognize that right now is not the perfect time to give his woman what she deserves.”
J. Brown’s strong, passionate vocals take control as he lets us know he is singing from the heart over a sound bed of primarily keys and drums. In verse one, he honestly reveals how much he cares for his woman but makes it clear to her that he is just not ready. “I’ve got my flaws / Built up my walls / Look so damn tall / Don’t climb and fall / In love and war / Don’t risk it all / You deserve more / Than I can afford,” he soulfully admits.
The visual gives us a sense of J. Brown’s dilemma as he tries to navigate his relationship versus his inner feelings. Set in the 1970s with decor, styling, magazines and vinyl records from that era, we view J. and his lady interacting with each other in their humble abode.
We watch as they share some intimate moments, but the stress of past due bills and such takes its toll. In between scenes of the couple going through their everyday life, we see Brown sitting by himself in deep thought, in the studio singing and at a bar drowning his sorrows in liquor and the company of another woman.
It becomes obvious that despite his woman’s best efforts to comfort him and make him feel better, she can’t be his lady and his therapist, too. Whatever he’s going through, he’s got to go through on his own. The video culminates with her packing her suitcase and leaving in the final scene.
We are sure there are numerous men dealing with similar issues who can relate to “I Just Can’t Love You” as it brings light to what they are experiencing but may have trouble articulating. Many men just move in silence and keep it moving, but those issues eventually surface and manifest themselves in depression and failed personal relationships.
J. Brown’s “I Just Can’t Love You” follows the “it’s not you, it’s me” playbook, and he’s not afraid to take the blame. Watch how it all plays out below.