Despite releasing two critically acclaimed albums and becoming a well-known name over the past few years, singer-songwriter-producer Terius "The-Dream
" Nash insists that his third album, Love King
, will be his last. It remains to be seen if he'll really live up to his word, but if Love King
, which was released in the U.S. on June 29, 2010, is indeed his swan song, then he leaves behind a mixed legacy. On the plus side, his songs are innovative and well-produced to the point that some of them are almost have a hypnotic quality to them. But on the minus side, his music at times sounds too cold and mechanical.
One of the best things about The-Dream
's Love King
is that it, like both of his first two albums, is consistent all the way through. None of the songs seem out of place and it's a project that can be listened to all the way through, instead of just having a few good singles that wind up being played over and over. In fact, the album seems like a perfectly natural sequel to his previous album, 2009's Love Vs. Money
, which itself was the perfect follow-up to his debut album, 2007's Love/Hate
. Dream has a definite knack for penning compelling stories in his music, and songs about the ups and downs of relationships is something he's especially good at, as well as sensual songs.
"Make Up Bag," a song about having to buy a woman a makeup bag to 'make up' for a past misdeed is a clever tune, and a couple of other songs, "Sex Intelligent Remix" and "Panties to the Side," both of which carry an obvious R. Kelly influence, are so explicitly sexual that your ears might get pregnant just listening to them. Dream's other big influence is Prince, to whom stylistic tribute is paid on "Yamaha," a song that almost sounds like it came straight out of His Purple Majesty's 1999/Purple Rain/Around the World in a Day era of the early-to-mid-1980s, complete with vintage electronic drum beats, synthesizer riffs and all.
© Radio Killa/Def Jam.
Dream also revisits his own past on "Nikki Part 2," the sequel to a break-up song on his first album that was influenced by the dissolution of his marriage to R&B singer Nivea. The song's cold, sad and bitter, as is the following track (the sequel to the sequel), appropriately titled "Abyss," during which he sings "Cry 'til you drown your face, bitch I could give a damn how harsh this may seem/I'm here to put your heart in it's place, chained up at the bottom of the lake." The song is typical of the album in that it carries a good deal of profanity and should be listened to by grown folks who don't mind such things. And we're not just talking about 'damn' or the b-word here; Dream drops the f-bomb occasionally, plus the s-word, as well as a couple of other things that can't be printed here.
And the common use of expletives is just one of the ways that this differs from your traditional R&B/Soul album. Another is Dream's completely digital approach to music. Although this gives his songs a unique, futuristic-type quality, it also removes most of the emotional depth that the songs might have otherwise had. In the case of the aforementioned "Abyss," the coldness helps, since he's singing cold, bitter words. But overall, the album would have definitely benefited from a more organic approach, one where his sometimes delicate vocals are overshadowed by technology.