Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The-Dream – IV Play (2013) – Review

Review: The-Dream is one of the leaders of R&B’s darker/pop sound (influencing artists like The-Weeknd) – an auteur of the genre. His music is explicit, emotional, and wonderfully produced (it is generally much darker and slower than most popular modern R&B). While he has written many of the last decade’s biggest hits, Terius Nash has never enjoyed commercial success as a solo artist (despite his critical acclaim).

IV Play seems like an attempt by Nash to make a more commercially accessible album. It is packed with a lot of guests: Jay-Z, Big Sean, Pusha T, Beyonce, 2 Chainz, Kelly Rowland, and Fabolous, but really only Pusha T adds anything of note (his very brief intro to Pussy is fantastic). The-Dream is at his best when he is battling his own insecurity and melancholy using his great falsetto vocals, but still with a helping of swagger. Love vs. Money had a ton of features, but it is his best album (and I would argue one of modern R&B’s best). It is not so much that these songs are bad, but rather that they just feel like The-Dream is not as ambitious with his music (which is disappointing).

Interesting, and sort of in the face of making a more mainstream album, Nash makes the statement that he is tired of EDM – when it has completely taken over almost every genre (but especially pop and R&B). Musically, the album is filled with more classically styled pop/R&B tracks that move to a slower beat. However, R&B has seen sort of a resurgence of this more soulful sound with artists like Frank Ocean.

Overall, IV Play is a decent album that should work for The-Dream’s fans and those that like pop/R&B, but after strong albums like Love vs. Money and Love King this just feels disappointing (plus, most of the best songs are the deeper cuts and bonus tracks). 3/5

Essential Tracks:
1)      Y’All – Produced by The-Dream
2)      Psycho – Produced by The-Dream
3)      Holy Love – Produced by The-Dream and Los da Mystro

Available on: Digital Download

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