Sunday, June 27, 2010

Love King (Deluxe Edition) - The-Dream

Love King (Deluxe Edition)
Artist: The-Dream
(All songs produced by L.O.S Da Mystro & The-Dream unless stated)
All scores out of 5

1|Love King|4:12 4.25 - 5
It takes a little time for this song to truly grow upon you, but when it does, it’s candy-coated with extra sprinkles. The remix really brought my opinion of this song, but since the remix isn’t really part of the mix, I’m not gonna criticize.
2|Make Up Bag (Featuring T.I)|4:44 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
The unrelatable song you want to relate to, dont’ lie.
3|F.I.L.A.|4:12 4 - 4.5 (Produced by The-Dream)
I used to despise the original mix with T.I, mostly because of the quality and the fact that it went on too long. But it’s truly grown upon me, along with it’s whimp*ering horns.
4|Sex Intelligent|5:11 4.5 - 4.75 (Produced by The-Dream)
The-Dream’s chopping & screwing the beginning, compared to none from the first leak really set the song into a higher gear. Classic hook though, probably one of my favorite ones to sing along. The end does kind of tire out a little bit however.
5|Sex Intelligent [Remix]|4:03 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
The first six seconds when he says “She wants me to ... remixx this dummbb shitt,” really just captivates me. And I wasn’t doing the extra letters to be overtly obnoxious.
6|Yamaha|4:55 4 - 4.5
It’s not supposed to fit in with anything, but it does by some miracle. The idea is interesting (?), calling an unknown beauty his Yamaha. I guess the idea that Yamaha rhymes (?) with “momma,” works though.
7|Nikki, Pt. 2|2:41 3.75 - 4
For some reason this song never really clicked with me, even though it’s The-Dream at his more introspective moments.
8|Abyss|4:39 3.75 - 4.25
Seamless transitition. This song is nice more by itself, than really the flow of the album, in my opinion. I thought this song was probably when The-Dream tried to actually say something
9|Panties to the Side|4:06 3 (Produced by Tricky Stewart & The-Dream)
Bores me for the first twenty seconds, then gains some luster that doesn’t shine as the song goes on, partly through production, and the seemingly bored nature of The-Dream.
10|Turnt Out|4:26 4.75
The-Dream doing what he does best.
11|February Love|6:15 4.5 - 5 (Produced by The-Dream)
Actually, this is also what The-Dream does best.
12|Florida University|5:28 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
I used to think that this song was either the most stupid idea, or the most genius idea that The-Dream has ever concoted in his mind, but I just kept on singing the chorus regardless.
13|Veteran|4:55 4.25 - 4.75
Song feels a lot longer than it is, but that’s a good thing in this case.
14|Priceless|6:04 4 - 4.25
I like the song, but I can’t never stand to finish it, even though I get very close too. It’s a shame though, I really have an interest in this song.
15|Take Care of Me|5:40 3.5 (Produced by The-Dream)
I just hate the guitar. However, that occurs for a period of time, which isn’t good.
16|All Black Everything|3:53 4 - 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
Little engineering and small production changes really does wonders for a song.
17|Sorry|3:41 4.25 (Produced by The-Dream)
Contains one of the best Dream lines that seems genuine.
18|Love King [Remix] (Featuring Ludacris)|5:33 4.75 - 5
This is what a remix should be. I need to explain more.

Overall Rating: 73.25 -78.5 | 4.2/5 | 81 - 87%: Great, repeated listens suggested; BUY IT

Generally with the start of the new decade, it should presumably mean that artists have an “incentive” to branch out and change some of their abnormalities into normal tendencies (if they desire, but still) Of course, throughout the past years that The-Dream has been in the ever-changing environment of R&B, it really seems that his natural quirks and traits, aren’t going to stop. From writing hits such as “Irreplaceable,” or “Single Ladies,” both for Beyonce, or Rihanna’s popular hits, the infamous “Umbrella,” or recent club / radio track, “Hard,” his spectrum of influence in the music industry is secretly monumental. Let’s not forget to mention the current relatable song, “Baby,” from Justin Bieber, and also his numerous production / singing credits on many hip hop artists (Rick Ross, Fabolous, Plies, Lloyd Banks, and recently, Drake)

As evidenced here, why fix something that isn’t broken? Using The-Dream’s commonly referred term to be described, as the actual description of him, The-Dream is truly a Radio Killa. Unchallenged, and unsurpassed by anyone in his age group, it’s a wonder why The-Dream doesn’t have the parallels of success he has in comparison to his songwriting / production for other artists.

Now, that’s not to say he doesn’t have hits. He has had several seminal songs, particuarly during his first stint doing albums on the scene with the songs, “Shawty Is The Sh*t,” “I Luv Your Girl,” and “Falsetto.” Nodima (A fellow reviewer who I’ll give much respect for my blatant copying of the rating system, and some of the elements I discuss) pointed out that also in 2007, the memorable hit, “Bed,” by J. Holiday proved one of the elements that hindered The-Dream’s fame, which was the fact that while his preformance as a whole was stellar, the main part of R&B, is singing, which The-Dream doesn’t excel in.

Not to say that The-Dream has no singing talent, even with the auto-tuned vocals, he pales as a singer, not necessarily an artist, to his mainstream contemporaries, Ne-Yo, Trey Songz, and of course, his inspiration, R. Kelly. As I previously stated before, as an artist, this is where The-Dream knows the kinks of. He’s proven with previous albums, The-Dream can stick to a concept, and ride along with it smoothly. He’s explored the highs and lows, the comparison of loving, yet hating someone just as much on Love/Hate,pondered and struggled upon the true satisfactions of a woman, love or money, in Love VS Money, and with both, taking his craft of using the eighties as his inspiration, Prince, Michael Jackson, and spinning and weaving these influences with deep, heartbeat 808’s, woozy synths, all to make songs appealing to his specific demographic of glamourized, glitzy everything, where the women seem to have the lowest standards, and The-Dream, willing to dive into those waters.

So why did I present this essay of The-Dream’s summed up past? As with anyone, or anything, everything has a past of it’s own, and Terius Nash is no exception to the rule. With Love King, The-Dream has once again learned to conform with the times, while providing his own form of what the current, modern scene he inhabits offers. Sex Intelligent revists the old trick of chopping and screwing vocals, previously established in his own songs, such as Fancy, or She Needs My Love, and the recent hit (Also produced from him too), Ride, from Ciara. Songs, like All Black Everything copies the themes from Jay-Z’s song, Run This Town, and other songs, such as Florida University, or Love King, follow the ever recurring idea of superficial singles that pleases the minds anywhere.

The-Dream obviously does please someone, because now, he’s not so worried about wondering what the controversial idea of love is anymore. He’s not concerned about determining the medium between how a person can love and hate someone at the same time, not concerned about this one, true love that seemingly has to exist, or whether the women love his money or him as a person.. Now, he’s just done being (loosely) philosophical, and just wants to further state that he apparently is the best person, treating them better, making them live better, buying anything better, it’s all exemplified here. The-Dream has now successfully created the modern day candy-coated sugar sweet album, and this concept seems to show us that this album is probably a distant land far away from the supposed normals, and the supposed people who can’t afford or isn’t sophiscated enough.

All of this glamourized, glitzy, fantastical superficial world is shown, and we merely have the perpherials, just seeing the mere perimeters / boundaries in the tracklisting. Furthering in, we see The-Dream big pimping girls, girls, girls (See what I did there) a la Jay-Z in the summer anthem, Love King, acting non-chalant about buying five thousand dollar bags for a disgruntled girlfriend, making his claims to a girl that she’ll fall in love again with Terius himself on F.I.L.A (Though the coincidental relation to the shoe doesn’t really make much sense), are all aspects we must understand about The-Dream to actually relate to this album. Just some subjects we see, and we’re only three songs in.

The-Dream has some kind of interesting quality, which is the fact that the song as a whole means more than what Terius actually says himself. Show but don’t tell, a lot, a deceptive idealogy that Terius has successfully done in all of these short three years his albums have been released. Songs, such as Turnt Out, a simple song about Terius just apparently turning your girl out on the bed, or Florida University, a deceptive, quirky song about that “Fuck you,” to a former significant, at first, seem like such retreaded and boring concepts, but Terius finds some way to make sure the song proclaims more than it really seems.

Of course, it’s not obviously due to The-Dreams singing, but the production and engineering skills that he, and his production team, L.O.S Da Mystro & Tricky Stewart possess. Songs such as Yamaha (A recycling of Fast Car, by far), should stick out completely, but through some engine rev’s on Sex Intelligent [Remix], it’s made possible, like it was fated to mesh in with the album. Of course, the fact that a song about an unknown beauty can seamlessly transcend into a song about the reminsicing of Terius’s former wife, Nikki, is a wonder by itself. Nikki Part 2, wonderfully swoops into the next track, the moody, somber, Abyss, which has such a transition that is uncomparable to any of the other sequencings on the album too. Also, Sex Intelligent, as previously mentioned also gets the doctors treatment, and although it’s split, this ten minute suite of serenading, chopped & screwed moments, infectious lines, it’s just a breeze through, and a very smooth one, one with the calm winds and the sunny skies.

The track, Feburary Love does deserve more specific mention, mostly because it alludes to my specific favorite track from The-Dream, Fancy. While both are of female subjects, and the length is similar, those are simple claims. Fancy, where this twenty three year old woman’s heartbreaker story is told from Terius himself, Feburary Love, seems to be the pleas of Terius to that woman herself, a rare moment of vulnerability, but also being a rather interesting scene, because he knows what’s impending, but just rather face the consequences and deal with the pleasantaries now. It’s these kind of sections where The-Dream seems to be more than what meets the usual listener. It also helps that both songs were very well (and similarily) produced, emphasizing that (somewhat) thoughtful music doesn’t have to be bland. However, admist all of this, I do speak of Terius’s introspective ways, rather broadly, which does ruin his image, though it is very true, yet this is not a detriment. It’s a bittersweet compliment.

Of course, nobodies perfect, even in Terius’s seemingly fantastical utopia. This flawed concept, while a relatively simple idea that The-Dream would throw out of the ballpark, it’s instead a unrealized song, which is “Panties To The Side.” It’s not the most jarring mistake, but The-Dream sounds uninspired and pedestrian, on his own creation. It’s not exactly Terius’s restrained vocal preformance that brings the song down, it’s also handed to Trickys lone production on this project. Being a third of the three man trio team (L.O.S, The-Dream and him), and being the one who provided the majority of the production on the superior Love VS Money, it’s a surprise that Tricky would provide a bland synths laced production with similar sound inflections to a previous dud, Ditch That. Course, that’s not to say that Tricky is a bad producer just because of this blunder, he has created vivid soundscapes for Terius such as the fantastic, Fancy, Love VS Money, Sweat It Out, Falsetto, or a personal favorite, Fast Car. The fact is, it’s not exactly about the songs that I’m emphasizing, but it’s the fact that Tricky was the elaborate producer, willing to switch out of his comfort zones and create tracks Terius easily adapted too, such as Mama (deserving mention of it’s distinct production and different subject matter) and the previously mentioned tracks. My main point is that all of these tracks sounded different, with Sweat It Out’s, violin synths and fuzzed out sounds, or Fancy’s melodic accordians, or even Falsetto’s genius use of the wailing electric guitar. So it’s a shame that this song sounded so similar to the album as a whole, and Terius doesn’t help matters either.

The specific deluxe edition songs, which I haven’t discussed yet, are truly important, because they all provide their own specific lanes the album as a whole has, and the three last songs (From Take Care Of Me to Sorry), are some of the more varied productions Terius has accomplished in his career. For example, All Black Everything, a song about setting up a date with all black everything, twinkles with simple pianoes, emenating woozy synths, engineered background vocals, and the classic chopped and screwed voices. All the parts work together as a whole, which is the main selling point Terius has been able to sell to the masses all these years. Songs, like Sorry, while the incredible minimalist production should drive away anyone, The-Dream just adds enough of bass, and snaps, to take a interesting introspective turn that hasn’t been humbly shown since tracks like Mama. Also, not forgetting to mention the first two tracks, where L.O.S provides some deviation from his usual standard of production, with the pianoes, synths, and all of the aspects. Priceless and Veteran are two interesting tracks, because they seem to work together as a suite, much like Sex Intelligent, and Sex Intelligent [Remix] did.

While it’s not exactly on the official album, it’s an official song regardless. When Love King [Remix] came out, I was intrigued. Not only did the percussion hit incredibly hard, rivaled only by Shut It Down, but it was what a remix really should’ve been. Being the summer too, this song was constantly played every single day by me, for the past month when it first came out. The tagged version came, then the clean version came, then the uncensored version finally arrived, but I didn’t care either way. The song just sounded complete, with the hard hitting drums, innocent piano keys, the double-timed Ludacris verses (Which I have memorized already), and of course The-Dreams attention to write a complete song. All of it truly worked, and this the song that made me excited for Love King. Not to say that I wasn’t before, but if The-Dream could make a song like this, why should anyone argue against whether his vocals aren’t the greatest, his songwriting isn’t the most refined. Music has so many different aspects and viewpoints, and The-Dreams realizes that he can do whatever he wants to do, and it doesn’t matter. It’s just right, and I can’t express any further that this is a seminal song, because it’s fantastic, and adds to this dreamland vision.

The individual does not make the whole, and this point is exactly what Terius Nash emulates successfully. While R&B albums, hell, albums in general rely on the seminal single, but don’t bring much else (I’m looking at you other numerous rappers, and fellow R&B singers such as Ray J, Jason Derulo, Iyaz, Ciara, T-Pain, Trey Songz, Slim, Rihanna, Lloyd, Mario, and so many more. It’s also ironic that The-Dream writes/produces for these people too) Note that most of these stars, particuarly Rihanna, Trey Songz, T-Pain are the supposed forefronts of R&B right now, but yet their albums are suspectible to the mainstream effects of mediocrity, blandess in production, and other small quirks. The-Dream is undisputably the Radio Killa right now, because he can overcome all of these boundaries with such leaps of grace. He doesn’t just have the singles, he has the album to support it too, this candy coated, sugary sweet, dreamland of being the Love King. It’s a seamless, breezy, sleazy, easy trip throughout Terius’s eyes of the strip clubs, cities, exotic locales, and beds, that is accompanied through the production that makes him.

The-Dream initially stated that he was going to stop dropping albums, that Love King was his final opus. A radiating middle finger to the masses. If no one gave him the true success he’s worked his life for, then why should he waste it then? He has his fancy lifestyle regardless. Yet, on Sex Intelligent [Remix], he claims, “Just for you, imma drop that love affair,” also stating that “six / seven, twenty eleven (2011), imma drop that Love Affair.” Of course, I’m not worried at all. The expectations of each album were increasingly higher (And increasingly predictable, also) from Terius’s fans, and The-Dream constantly delivers and delivers, finding a way to make the the recycled concepts, cornball musical fetishes, and everything to work so successfully. It’s The-Dream as a whole, this conceptual idea that is expressed more and more throughout these three albums he has put out, the common idea of love that Terius Nash tries to perfect. Love King is quite simply, a fantastic album, and as fellow reviewer Nodima said, the only mainstream R&B album worth purchasing this year. The Deluxe Edition is certainly the correct method of listening to this album, because The-Dream provides some his most ambitious, daring, and melodic production to date, and it does provide a functional, more cohesive conclusion. This album is definitely not to be missed.

Mentionable Quotes:
A disclaimer before we get to the discussion. The-Dream isn’t (as stated), the most intelligent, or humble person ever to live. Infact, he is rather vain, and isn’t hesitant to use any musical line that sounds good on the song. Anyways:

“On her like a poster pimpin
Yeah I got her pinned up”

This specific part that’s chopped and screwed on Sex Intelligent, it’s always made me laugh, and testament to how corny The-Dream can be, but yet can pull it off so successful, and some of the reason is that, The-Dream’s metaphors are so elementary, you can understand them.

“Everytime I mention you, I say, Yamaha, yamaha, ohh yamaha”

It’s a question to me why The-Dream would call an unknown woman a yamaha. Maybe because it’s the engine / vehicle reference.

“Now let the waterfall, abyss
Only the sun would come, and drive the water away
But you’re in the abyss, my lady,
And you won’t see another
Now cry til’ you drown in your face”

Always thought it was an interesting part, because it shows The-Dream being vulnerable.

“Phantom in the driveway, sitting on the courtside
Shawty I ain’t new to this, you better get used to this
Thirty foot ceilings, lifestyle appealing,
Check my 09’ taxes, I made a killing,
Haters want to kill him, real n*ggas feel him,
Dream ain’t on the credits, then must’ve got a feeling, like,
Yeah he so silly, don’t mean to be rude, some of these n*ggas ain’t got a clue”

This part (and then some) is the allusion that I said earlier that Feburary Love had to Fancy. It seems like this is the response that The-Dream was giving to this unknown twenty three year old girl about what he explained she was doing. I dont’ care whether it’s already been said (in different ways) by The-Dream so many times, it works out. Just think about it.

“If you’re in love, then don’t dare sing along with me”

This quote is relatively simple, it just states that The-Dream isn’t truly in love even after all of his journeys to find it. But, I feel it’s the most humble moment that The-Dream has had, and in Sorry, it’s a confession that feels honest.

Oh, and every chorus and hook he sangs.

1 comment:


    love, maheen <3