On his third album, Ready, Trey Songz demands to be taken seriously. No longer will he be forced to live under the shadow of R. Kelly, typecast as another clone of the R&B superstar / alleged child rapist. Well, if that were the case, perhaps he would have actually tried something different, rather than releasing an LP made up of several variations of essentially the same song.
Yes, Trey can sing, this is not debated, however those looking for any kind of substance or originality in his music can look elsewhere. Surprisingly, the album gets right to it and starts off with a slow jam, “Panty Dropper”, a sort of end-of-the-night-beginning-of-the-morning-prelude-to-sex, with utterly predictable inter-changeable go-to-lyrics “if you up in the club / tryin’ to get a rub / tell the DJ to put this ooooon”. Yaaaaaawn, did he say something about bedtime? Probably not the response he was looking for.
He continues with this style throughout much of the record, attempting to be clever and romantic at the same time, reiterating the same points over and over again. “Neighbors Know My Name”, for instance, is a slow jam suggesting that he’s so utterly amazing in the sack, that his girlfriend(s) scream his name so frequently that his neighbors – people that obviously have not ever been over for quiche – already know his name. Then there’s “I Invented Sex”, which also suggests he’s so mind-blowingly erotic that his sexual partners will think that….well, you get the idea. Oh, and who can forget “Jupiter Love”, yet another unintentional remix of the two previous songs, which implies his lovin’ is intergalactic, planetary.
Despite his lovemaking prowess, Trey is often left a lonely soul. On “I Need A Girl”, we again find Trey subscribing to the ridiculously formulaic styles R&B artists succumb to on this soft-rock, adult contemporary radio banger. On “Yo Side Of The Bed” – the requisite Prince-inspired track – finds him again (or shall we say “still”) in slow-jam mode, but here he’s alone, tossing and turning, clutching her pillow in despair. Dude, just bust one out and stop crying. Shit.
While most of this album is drowned out in dull, droll, disposable syrup, he does attempt to change his style in a few places. “LOL :)” is a clever, bouncy ringtone (in the truest sense of the word), where Soulja Boy and Gucci Man add some diversity to this otherwise redundant LP (not saying it’s good, but at least it’s different). “Be Where You Are” also breaks the mold a bit, as one of those mellow up-tempo R&B jams (think Fergie’s “Glamourous”), while “Say Ahh” also goes for club spins, but rings as a cheap knock off of Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It (On The Alcohol)”. Sadly for Trey, the best song on this LP isn’t even his, as the Drake featured “Successful” took the world by storm on “So Far Gone” six months before this LP was released.
Regardless of these criticisms, Trey probably has no beef with this album and truly believes he is Ready to become a household name. And why not, he’s been a good little artist and did everything that the record label told him too, D’Angelo album cover bite notwithstanding. But at the end of the day, Trey’s no John Legend, he’s not making “grown folks music”. Instead he’s making music that fourteen-year-olds (and people with the mind-set of fourteen-year-olds) will find romantic, which will ultimately determine his fate as just another disposable commodity. – DJ Pizzo
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