Trey Songz, Chapter V | Album Review
Trey Songz doesn’t tread too far from his past albums, but manages to make his fifth studio album, ‘Chapter V’ compelling.
R&B singer Trey Songz releases his fifth studio effort, Chapter V. Chapter V follows his 2010 effort, Passion, Pain & Pleasure. The artist, who famously proclaims in his song “Unusual” “they say all I talk about is sex,” does just that on the sensual, sometimes salacious Chapter V. Ultimately, album no. 5 is another R. Kelly-inspired, panty-dropping’ affair. While Songz doesn’t tread too far from breakout album Ready or the aforementioned Passion, he manages to make sensual sound compelling as ever.
The intro, “Chapter V,” sets the tone with mysterious synths. “Dive In,” a similar record to “Neighbors Know My Name,” kicks off the effort superbly. Urban to the core, “Dive In” has a slow tempo, with a highly sensual sound working in its favor. There is little to nitpick save for the fact Songz doesn’t depart from the formula. It is a standout, nonetheless.
The obligatory panty-dropping record follows with the salacious “Panty Wetter.” Songz asserts:
“You ain’t gotta take them off/just pull ’em to the side…”
R. Kelly is etched throughout, given the vocal styling and edginess. “Panty Wetter” is dramatic and risqué without becoming overtly hedonistic.
Highlight “Heart Attack” was co-written by Rico Love. Well produced and performed, “Heart Attack” is top-notch. The drums are gargantuan, with an impressive palette of electronic sounds. Even with electronics in the works, Songz retains a contemporary R&B sound as opposed to Euro-, techno-infused pop. He pours out his heart on the emotive chorus:
“In too deep, can’t think about giving it up/ But I never knew, love would feel like a heart attack/ It’s killing me, swear I never cried so much/ Cause I never knew love would hurt this fuckin’ bad/ The worst pain I ever had…”
“Playin Hard” is a bit of an anomaly – Songz both raps and sings. It’s off-putting initially but unveils its magic with successive listens. Mysterious production provides a nice palette for his artistry, whether he spits or croons. “2 Reasons” serves as the “Bottoms Up” remake, but pales in comparison. The tempo is incredibly quick with Trey delivering gimmicky vocals. The production is solid, with the club sensibility clearly conveyed. T.I. provides a guest verse, but it’s hard to decipher. Regardless, it’s no cornier than some of the lines delivered by the frontman himself:
“I only came for the ladies and the drinks…baby get ya glass up… baby get ya ass up…”
“Hail Mary” lays much better, opting for a hardcore sound and medium tempo. Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne assists on the first and third verses respectively. Songz handles the hook as well as the second verse. Catchy and enjoyable, it’s successful. Rick Ross joins the party on “Don’t Be Scared,” another solid track. It’s not Ross’s best, but he pulls it off.
“Pretty Girl’s Lie”
“Pretty Girl’s Lie” represents the crème de la crème. Using distorted piano and a subtler approach, “Pretty Girls Lie” provides a welcome contrast.
“Pretty girls lie/ Lipstick in her smile/ Make you want to believe/ But pretty girls lie/ Pain so deep inside/ She can’t even see/ Pretty girls lie…”
Songz sings incredibly emotionally on the refrain. Add an unexpected, but successful key change and he delivers a true moment on Chapter V.
“Bad Decisions” is a track better suited for Drake, given the emo-, stoner-R&B sound. Songz sells it, but the quibble would be that despite the excellent demarcation of form that the song is static for too long. Vocal nuances and ad libs are a pro. “Forever Yours” is slightly better, thanks to Songz referencing underwear once more: “I bet her panties on the floor now…” The use of synths and electronic sensibilities are used tastefully, in moderation.
Following “Inside Interlewd,” “Fumble” provides another football reference. Like the earlier outing, Songz sells it successfully. The tempo is slow, while his vocal is crystal clear. Full of nuance and emotion, “Fumble” allows the artist to flourish. “Without A Woman” follows up soulfully, hearkening on classic R&B. After another interlude (“Interlude4u”), “Simply Amazing” is a pop-rock crossover. It’s ok, but not particularly memorable. Penultimate cut “Never Again” samples Curtis Mayfield. It marks an improvement over “Simply Amazing,” but not the second coming. “Check Me Out” concludes, co-written by Bei Maejor. Additionally, it features Meek Mill and Diddy.
Overall, Chapter V is another solid Trey Songz album. Positively, in the scheme of R&B, Songz doesn’t try to crossover into dance-pop or techno-infused styles. There are electronic sounds, but they’re clearly utilized within the R&B idiom. This is not the best R&B album of the year, but Trey knows how to make a solid, enjoyable listen.
Gems: “Dive In,” “Heart Attack,” “Hail Mary,” & “Pretty Girls Lie,”