Tank, Savage | Album Review
R&B singer/songwriter Tank continues to amplify sex on his savage new studio album, fittingly titled, ‘Savage.’
Despite the coolness of R&B, Tank, continues to be prolific. Despite being incredibly underrated, he’s written and recorded some great music during his career. His 2016 album, Sex Love & Pain II was disappointing, however. It suffered from trying too hard to assimilate and conform with modern urban contemporary. All indications suggested Tank would remain “Savage” on his upcoming album, Savage. He does, but with better results than his previous album.
“Savage” serves as a strong opener, keeping things short and sweet (just hits the three-minute mark). The production work is slick AF, featuring trap-oriented drums, looped synths, and set in a minor key. Naturally, given the title and minor key, “Savage” is ‘sketchy-sounding.’ It’s clear that sex is on Tank’s mind – rather, he’s thinking with his pants. This is nothing new – a cliché within urban-pop or any number of styles really. He amplifies his lust with profanity and talking mad game. If nothing else, Tank captures the savagery throughout the course of “Savage.”
“Everything” definitely assembles a star-studded cast, bringing Trey Songz and Ludacris into the fold. The collaborative banger of Savage, it’s enjoyable, but NOT the ‘second coming.’ Tank sings the first verse, while Songz arrives for the second. Given Songz love of sex, he’s a perfect fit. Ludacris isn’t a bad choice either, but his reference to Frozen on the third verse – interesting…
“Do for Me”
Tank is solo once more on “Do for Me.” Slick, this is a classic example of more sound than substance. At least the sounds are heavenly, led by Tank’s flawless pipes. The catchy, suggestive pre-chorus is the biggest selling point.
“Put in work / I don’t mind a double tax if you / Put in work / Make a n*gga double back when you / Put in work / Girl this ain’t no game I really blew it all for you.”
“Only One” benefits from its traditional adult contemporary cues aka soulful electric guitar. This isn’t the dominant sound – the sounds of modern R&B are still dominant – but it’s a contrast to previous songs and production in this regard. The song itself has a little more substance, but it certainly isn’t chivalrous.
“You Belong to Me”
“You Belong to Me” suffers from a lack of inspiration. Better yet, “You Belong to Me” suffers from shoddy songwriting. Tank doesn’t offer much here, which leaves the sentiment of “so what?” after listening. Furthermore, the production lacks distinction from what precedes and ultimately follows. The silky smooth “Good Thing” gets a boost with the addition of Candice Boyd. Boyd arrives late in the cut, but provides a welcome contrast on “Good Thing.” If there was an ‘overabundance’ of solo Tank, she adds a great change of pace and keeps it moving.
“Sexy” keeps things simple and lustful to the nth degree. It doesn’t take long for sex to envelop. The music itself is a perfect tone poem for what Tank looks to accomplish.
“I been thinkin’ bout’cha / Thinkin’ bout you feel like foreplay / I’ma do whatever you say; sexy / And without you, gone like four days / Don’t know how much that I’m gon’ take / If it’s mine then baby don’t play; sexy.”
It’s clear that Tank is all about her, as well as being about doing her. At least he’s honest and “Sexy” is lush, enjoyable and… sexy.
“When We” features lush, sensual production work. This is a selling point by all means. The standout backdrop includes slick hip-hop driven drums, clearly part of the contemporary script. Tank delivers a superb performance, characterized by smooth vocals. Like the production, Tank’s vocals exemplify sex. His tone is amazing. This has been consistent throughout his career, regardless what he sings. Notably, he matches the swagger of younger contemporaries here. Shallow like most of Savage – he’s so inspired he sings “When we f*ck” for example – it’s a guilty pleasure by all means.
Initially, “F It Up” sounds woozy. The production work is mysterious, almost imitating a person who’s high out of their mind. The lushness is inviting and warm. Expectedly, the title doesn’t leave much to the imagination, revealed on the sexual refrain. Nonetheless, it’s easy to be hypnotized by the sensual sounds and carnal chorus. While it lacks substance and transcendence, “F It Up” is among the crème de la crème of Savage.
“Nothing On” has a vibe, which is a pro. That said, there’s a lot of vibes on Savage, so is this one particularly distinct of the others? Nah. Vocally, Tank continues to impress, while the production is excellent. The problem is that “Nothing On” drags on too long – five-minutes-plus – without saying much. “Nothing On” = sex. Been there, done that. “Stay Where You Are” closes Savage, assisted by J. Valentine. While the tempo maintains the lethargic nature of the album as a whole, the throwback soul cues – particularly the six-eight meter – is a pro. Also, Tank benefits from a guest, providing contrast, much like “Good Thing.”
All in all, Savage is a decent album. Fans will like it. Casual listeners and non-fans will see its flaws, particularly, more focus on sex and vibes as opposed to deep lyricism. Regardless, Tank sounds superb throughout and ultimately, Savage feels like a step up from Sex, Love & Pain II.
Gems: “Savage,” “Sexy,” “When We” & “F It Up”