Monday, March 9, 2009
Amplified Grammar Reviews....
The-Dream's 1997 offering, Love/Hate, was arguably the best R&B album of 2008. After making waves in the music industry, crafting hit records for Rihanna ("Umbrella"), Chris Brown ("You") & newcomer J. Holiday ("Bed", "Suffocate"), The-Dream's first project was a ultra modern R&B album & became a critical darling, solidifiying Dream's standing not only as a talented songwriter but now as a bonafide artist in his own right. As with any successful debut, there eventually comes the question of the sophmore jinx. Can he do it again? The-Dream sets out to answer all doubters with his stellar follow up, Love Vs. Money.
The album starts off strong with the infectious 1st single, "Rocking That Thing", & slides right into the 80's New Wave styled "Walking On The Moon" featuring a post 808's & Heartbreak appearence from Kanye West. The-Dream's singing seems improved, though still not as refined as the classic R&B archetype, his stylized high pitched vocals seem stronger this time around, sounding more confident & comfortable. The theme of love versus money is carried throughout the album but take centerstage on the album's two part title track & on the sprawling 6 minute ballad "Fancy". If Love/Hate channeled early Prince & Michael Jackson, on this latest effort, The-Dream adds R. Kelly to the repertoire, with sex fueled romps like "Put It Down" & Sweat It Out", even going so far as paying homage to the man on the album's closer, the slinky nightcap soundtrack, "Kelly's 12Play".
Never straying too far from the formula used on it's predecessor, Love Vs. Money is an exhibition in modern production techniques with Tricky Stewart & L.O.S. Da Maestro reprising their roles as the album's sole producers. Imagine the stuttery synth infused R&B tracks of the day & merge them with the mechanical, white noise laden sounds of Industrial music, sprinkling the finished product with soaring strings & pulsing syncopated drums. These high production values combined with nearly flawless sequencing lend the album a cohesiveness that few projects attain. Songs literaly bleed into each other, creating a seamless transition from one track to the next.
Love Vs. Money is a cleverly raunchy, Hip-Hop influenced R&B album with keen Pop sensabilities. I know, a mouthful, but there's no other way to describe it. The-Dream has managed to create a sexually charged epic, playfully crude without losing it's charm. Even though the cresendo's aren't as obvious this go around, repeated listens will reveal an album just as textured & colorful as the one that preceeded it. Babymaking music for the new millenium.
Bonus...Rocking That Thing (Remix) Feat. Fab, Juelz, Officer Ricky & Ludacris.