Review: Trey Songz' "Chapter V"

Review: Trey Songz' "Chapter V"

Loaded with slow jams rife with sexuality, "Chapter V" sees Trey Songz relying heavily on his fantastic singing ability, and establishes him as a mainstream musician and personality that is here for the long haul.

Trey Songz started off as a happy-go-lucky heartthrob, right from his debut single, “Gotta Make It”, featuring Twista. His singles and videos have always been in keeping with the excitable conventions of contemporary R&B, for which R Kelly is widely seen as the stage-setter. His latest release, Chapter V, marks the long way that Neverson has come from spinning his own “In The Closet” response.

Far from penning claims like, “All I got is a dollar and dream”, but following closely behind 2010’s Passion, Pain, & Pleasure. With “Can’t Be Friends” and “Already Taken” as references, a listener can expect more of the same heart-felt powerhouse vocals and serious romantic content, just taken up a few notches pipes-wise. Granted, Chapter V on the whole does provide a track-to-track variety of sound. Dance breaks “2 Reasons” featuring T.I., the sure-fire hit “Hail Mary” featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, and “Check Me Out” with Meek Mill and Diddy, keep things fresh between longer smoother numbers, and may amount to Trigga’s earlier wishes for certain “dream collaborations” on his latest project.

Along with “Playin’ Hard,” “Check Me Out” even features some spoken word runs from the ‘Panty Dropper’ himself, a rare occurrence mostly set aside since “Wonder Woman” failed to find chart topping acclaim. The full time crooner relies heavily on repetition through the verse, leaving Diddy, then Meek Mill, to carry out the heat, which they do readily. The female recording present in the mix by J-Kits keeps things on the subject of sex, the center stage for Songz that fans have come to expect.

The lyricism of Chapter V takes an even more explicit turn than the Trey Songz tracks like “I Invented Sex” or “Neighbors Know My Name” that came before. While these songs are raunchy by suggestion, the new album’s opener, “Dive In” straddles that border between innuendo and full out sexual imagery. The Prince of Virginia starts things off from inside exactly where you think, and stays there for “Panty Wetter” achieving yet another (redundant) alias.  This is as dirty as it gets, although the slow jams marathon has only begun.

At the end of the day, this album’s R&B highlights more than remind audiences that Trigga is the go-to guy for vocals on a track in this day and age. The classic sultry “Without a Woman” pitches Trey Songz as a kind of male answer to Alicia Keys. Those who can stomach the unapologetic softness of “Pretty Girls Lie” will find a melodic integrity that hits all the sweet spots into a climactic key change. The fairly vibe-able “Don’t Be Scared” is party to brother Alex Neverson’s firm-handed foray into production. That said, many other slow songs remain dry, albeit catchy, like “Heart Attack”, in which the vocals are vaguely reminiscent of Justin Timberlake’s “The End Of Time”.

“Simply Amazing” could be a suitable alt name for the album– Trey’s voice certainly is, and the project relies largely on this simple fact. With fewer unique narratives and significantly increased singing chops, Chapter V may not be ground-stopping, but definitely pegs Trey Songz as a musician and mainstream personality here to stay. 

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