Trey Songz Opens A Much-Read Book To Chapter V

Much of R&B has been devoted to negotiating the relationship between men and women, and Trey Songz has always been traditional in that regard. His new album, Chapter V is organized neatly into three sections. The first and longest section is a hedonistic celebration of the player lifestyle (note the line "I only came for the bitches and the drinks," from the song "2 Reasons"). That's followed by slowed-down laments of a love wasted; the album ends with two alternate-ending anthems. Spoiler alert: Trey ends up happy and/or sad, depending on which song you take more seriously.

Songz hasn't released an album since 2010, and one might think that Chapter V would at least react to recent developments in R&B—perhaps it would include a couple of existential investigations into the idea of religion as a metaphor for unrequited love, or detail a drug-sparked orgy. Musically, he's hardly shifted from the sounds of his last album, an upbeat, high-sheen R&B with the occasional synth pattern or guitar thrown in for exoticism. And though he does rap a bit on "Playin' Hard" and (the great) "Pretty Girl's Lie," he mostly sticks to his guns (gunz?), a decaf version of R. Kelly with a slightly weaker voice and without Kelly's gift for tawdry, compelling songwriting.

To be fair, Songz is from the post-Kells generation, which is filled with singers standing firmly in the shadow of the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest." He, though, refuses to wriggle out and claim space for a separate identity, and without a signature musical sound, there's not much to distinguish him from being a lesser imitation of his idol.

But that's not to say that he doesn't know how to execute the blueprint. For instance, he knows his way around the extended metaphor, as exemplified on the song "Dive In," in which the pool in question is a vagina and Songz plans to execute a full 400 IM. "Splash!" he croons amiably before denoting all the strokes that he plans to put into action. It's a good song, smooth and catchy, and anchored by a simple, ludicrous premise. (By the way, Trey's thing, now that he is no longer Mr. Steal Your Girl, is apparently being the "Panty Wetter." At least, that's the title of the next song.)

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest

I'm going to have to disagree with you, I think Trey Songz is a very gifted singer.  His mix tapes are great. he has some of the best lyrics and can hang with the best rappers as well as singers, that's why he fits in so well and can be used on hooks for them and vice versa.  he is a sex symbol and the formula works, so if it ain't broke don't fix it.  I don't want my music to have metaphors of religion or drugged out orgys.  I want to hear him sing about sexiness, and what he's gonna do, how he wants to do it, how he wants it done, and having a good time, mixed in with some love stuff and how he's sorry for doing wrong s**t.  I want to listen to his music and make a baby or practice making one.  That's what he is.  I never got wet thinking about or seeing R.Kelly.  His music was good, yes but Trey has the whole image to pull it off, I never found R.Kelly sexy even before the controversy of the underage girls. I think people should stop comparing him to R.Kelly and enjoy him for him and what he is putting out.  Trey makes music for his true fans and that's more than I can say for a lot of artists.  

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault