The-Dream: “Love Vs. Money”
I am probably going to catch flack for this, but hey, someone has to play Devil’s Advocate. And that my friends, will be me.
After hearing the praises of this album on Twitter and the blogosphere in general, and of course my own expectations after randomly finding myself loving “Let Me See The Booty” (don’t judge me, OK!?), I was expecting one of the best albums of 2009 to drop.
Boy was I sorely underwhelmed when I copped the actual album.
Why? Without being too cererbal and pessimistic and going on for days, I will break it down for you after the jump!
The-Dream’s album should be called “Bamboozled” because, let’s be real, we really like the music. And since he doesn’t create the music (Los Da Maestro does the majority), all that he can lay claim to is the lyrics and vocal arrangements.
In that department, he comes up short.
He goes for a cohesive vibe and theme on this sophomore album, debating internally the debate of love versus money. Can one exist without the other? Is one dependent upon the other? Is one easier to get without the other? This what he debates along with the usual The-Dream fare and penchant for lurid lyrics and slinky funk & sextastic beats. With music running the gamut from being Prince-inspired to featuring an accordion prominently, The-Dream sets out to make his musical opus.
I think that is what ultimately does him in. After about a few minutes of his nasal singing, you realize that there is only so much auto-tune and effects can do to cover up the fact that he is a weak vocalist. And his schtick gets old QUICK.
There are flashes and glimmers of interesting music throughout the album. “Sweat It Out”, where Terius takes us through a night of love-making and the very real problem black men have w/ women and their hair concerns, are full of LOL. “Fancy” starts off spare but builds into a rollicking exclamation about the finer things some women desire and how we want to give them those things. “Let Me See The Booty” harks back to a time when Lil’ Jon was at the top of the charts making outright and overt demands upon women-folk in the club. A guilty pleasure but the depth of the bass on the song rocks the subs of any system.
I personally feel like his first album was a bit better, and while The-Dream feels like he might be the greatest of our time, at times I feel as if his presence is secondary to the music. And even then, there’s not much creativity being passed around in that aspect from track to track. It’s all a somewhat well-crafted but tepid pop/R&B affair that one can truly live without.