There’s little doubt that Trey Songz, the Virginia-born singer and rapper, has taken more than a few pages out of R. Kelly’s book. Songz has the proclivity for sexualizing everything down pat and exacts emotional spasms at times, enlarging words in a corny gospel-meets-porno tenor and rubbing his moderate vocal talents for all they’re worth.
The fixation makes Chapter V, his fifth album of course, into a lump of clay that somehow always manages to shape itself into some kind of genitalia.
When Songz informs us on “2 Reasons” that he only “came here for the bitches and the drinks,” he means it. This is the sort of cat who refers to himself as a “panty dropper” and has the nerve to title a song “Panty Wetter,” but he ultimately lacks the Prince-like sex-inside-of-sex and the lithe slither of Usher to pull off the carnal braggadocio.
What winds up happening is that Songz, who is 27, sounds about 10 years younger and like a wannabe stud trying to score at a Project X style party. Perhaps Chapter V is the soundtrack to that type of event, which at the very least gives it some kind of purpose.
Even “Don’t Be Scared,” in which he talks to a girl who appears to be a little disinclined to get with him due to his bed-hopping behaviour, lacks any suggestion of maturity. Justin Bieber has come up with better ways to chat with the womenfolk and he only repeated the same word over and over before capping it off with an “oh.”
Musically, Chapter V is everything a song-by-committee record should be. The sounds are often alluring, with the lavishly-produced “Pretty Girl’s Lie” rising above Songz’ squirrelly performance and the first single “Heart Attack” proving a catchy enough melody.
Guest stars include T.I., Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Diddy, and Meek Mill, while producers range from frequent collaborator Troy Taylor to Stargate and Benny Blanco.
Chapter V is the sort of record that will undoubtedly land at the petite feet of its fanbase and settle in just fine in the world of lowered expectations.
This is R&B pabulum, a pop yawn of a record that mistakes talking dirty for raw sex appeal and barefaced bombast for confidence. Songz seems a permanent adolescent and his narrow, bland pop approach to the boudoir is fatefully little more than masturbation.