Trey Songz: Ready (Album Review)

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If there is one thing musicians have learned, it is that controversy sells in the music business. Despite “song covers” over numerous artists’ hit records and issuing standout mixtapes to his fans in Genesis and Anticipation, it was Trey Songz’ “freestyle” over Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” that caused the biggest firestorm. Calling out the legendary R. Kelly for an attempt at remaining relevant to the younger generation via the usage of auto-tune on his records, many listeners (both critics and fans alike) felt the young superstar had spoke beyond his means. Though it was only Trey’s attempt at lighting a fire beneath the legendary singer/songwriter, the self-proclaimed “Prince of V.A.” lacks the credentials to question R. Kelly and placed himself under an even larger microscope. Enter Ready as Trey Songz attempts to firmly stamp his name as one of the top crooners of our time…

Tremaine begins his quest for R. Kelly-status with the aptly titled “Panty Droppa” followed by “Neighbors Know My Name”, a slow burner that oozes sexuality as the singer reflects on his sexual prowess and the effects it has on his lover (and her neighbors’s sleeping habits) during late night sexcapades. Young Money Entertainment’s latest signee Drake joins Trey on the mid-tempo banger “I Invented Sex” as one of music’s dynamic duos showcase their chemistry in their attempt to seduce the female gender. Famed writer Brian Michael Cox produces the beautiful ballad “One Love”, which features a touch of rock-influence and finds the singer contemplating commitment & monogamy while “Does He Do It” sees Songz questioning a young lady on the differences between himself and her current significant other when it comes to lovemaking.

After dabbling in the art of steamy sex sessions and party tunes in the first half of his latest release, he returns to his roots and the key to a successful R&B record: love. Trey’s soft coos echo across Troy Taylor’s mellow backdrop on “Ready to Make Luv”, leading into the amazing babymaking gem “Jupiter Love” while the multi-faceted sounds of “Be Where You Are” showcase Songz’ freedom to experiment with different types of production. While fresh red/white roses signal courtship and the possibility of a blooming relationship, Trey explains that relationships end with the delivery of “Black Roses”, roses that signal the end of love or “a dying love”.

Miscues include the unnecessary inclusion of Drake’s hit single, “Successful”, swapping out Lil’ Wayne’s verse for an extra Trey Songz verse and the horrific collaboration with Soulja Boy Tell’Em & Gucci Mane on the overly cheesy “LOL (Smiley Face)”. The club banger “Say Aah” would likely serve as an excellent upcoming single, but is an obvious spinoff (or rip-off) of Jamie Foxx’s monster hit record, “Blame It (On The Alcohol)”. From the ad-libs to the subject matter, the record in question even sees guest cameo Fabolous shouting out the famed Oscar winner in his verse.

Working extensively with Troy Taylor throughout the project, Ready is very cohesive and displays how focused Trey was in crafting his third opus. At the same time, the album strays far too much between sweat-her-hair-out sex and the soft kissing and caresses that take place during intimate lovemaking sessions. Trimmed of a few records, it would easily stand as a contender next to the best R&B albums of the year (as his mixtape, Anticipation does), but it appears that Trey is not yet ready to be mentioned next to R. Kelly as a household name… not just yet.

4 spins (out of 5)

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