Trey Songz - Passion, Pain, and Pleasure

Trey Songz
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Now being groomed as the R. Kelly of the now generation, Trey Songz-with his popular insurgence into sexy love ballads and well-groomed transformation from urban teen idol to young R&B hunk-is showing no signs of pausing. On his latest effort Passion, Pain & Pleasure, released just one year after Ready, Songz runs into a world of improvement, one with engaging, stronger content and maturity. In just a short period of time, he certainly has morphed from the braided bad-boy into urban tween seducer. This effort, once again dominated by Troy Taylor's production and song writing, fortunately challenges Songz to enter into a newfound place of manhood. Here, Songz relaxes using all the excessive sexual innuendos and club tricks that's made him likeable with the younger crowd and more irritating to an adult R&B audience.

Now being groomed as the R. Kelly of the now generation, Trey Songz-with his popular insurgence into sexy love ballads and well-groomed transformation from urban teen idol to young R&B hunk-is showing no signs of pausing. On his latest effort Passion, Pain & Pleasure, released just one year after Ready, Songz runs into a world of improvement, one with engaging, stronger content and maturity. In just a short period of time, he certainly has morphed from the braided bad-boy into urban tween seducer. This effort, once again dominated by Troy Taylor's production and song writing, fortunately challenges Songz to enter into a newfound place of manhood. Here, Songz relaxes using all the excessive sexual innuendos and club tricks that's made him likeable with the younger crowd and more irritating to an adult R&B audience. Oftentimes, age slows a man down and the consequent new pacing gives an artist a clearer understanding of their musical direction and identity. For Songz, Pleasure, Pain & Passion is that journey's reward.

The project's first half finds Songz doing what he's highly accustomed to. Getting right into his successful regiment, Songz opens his set with the steamy, Prince-esque bedroom galore cut, "Love Faces." Trance of "Massage" and the slick merging of sultry R&B with hip-hop beats on "Alone" are satisfying to his core fans, while the club-driven "Bottoms Up," probably his best up-tempo track to-date, certainly fires up the album's excitement.

When the second half enters, Songz-even with his lightly charismatic voice-channels his best R Kelly impression without using smut. "Please Return My Call," a song destined to be a strong radio player, puts the young crooner in some vocal tests, with soulful swoops and the occasional pleading.  "Can't Be Friends" and "Made To Be Together" are dreamier R&B gems that rely on synths and strings to expand the emotional lyrics' impact. His ability to stretch his craft into poppier, more temperamental territory gives the album some edge and ferocity. "Blind" is styled like a Jason Derulo offering, while "Unfortunate" journeys on the sidewalks of Kanye's 808 & Hearbreak DNA and speaks on the frustrations of breaking-up without getting messy.

Aside from one or two curveballs toward the end, particularly with the aloof Carol of the Bell-sampling on "Doorbell," Pleasure, Pain & Passion gets a thumbs up. It's the strongest and most balanced of all of Songz's album releases thus far. And, while Songz continues his reign on the charts with Ready's singles, this album is poised to stretch his dominance for yet another year. We're already witnessing the early portion of that resurgent procession ("Bottoms Up," "Can't Be Friends"). Highly Recommended

By J Matthew Cobb

 

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