Mr. Steal Your Girl is up to his old tricks on his sixth album, throughout which he relishes his playboy status more than ever. Trey Songz is far past minding anything other than his pleasure. To quote the great Spice 1, Trigga gots no heart. He couldn't care less about contradicting himself, as he ….
Six albums into a nearly 10-year career, Trey Songz has an established formula for Pop stardom that has allowed him to become a brand name performer in urban top-40 music. A consistent hitmaker, three of his now six albums have reached the top five on the Billboard R&B album charts, with his past three (2008’s Ready, 2010’s Passion, Pain and Pleasure, and 2012’s Chapter V) all reaching the top five on Billboard magazine’s overall album charts, too. As well, in an era where everyone decries a lack of album sales, he’s sold roughly 2.5 million copies of his last three releases.
The modern era of R&B just keeps getting better. Future’s bold, operatic Honest has become the touchstone for the genre in 2014, but it’s only the latest in a series of inventive releases from the last few years kicked off by new voices like the Weeknd and Frank Ocean moving the conventional sound into a new direction. Trey Songz, having just released Trigga, his sixth LP, is decidedly not a new voice, and though he apparently has no interest in rattling the cage of classic R&B, he’s still capable of making a strong album.
Trey Songz's sixth LP skates on the edges of modern hip-hop while remaining true to his R&B Lothario roots. With delivery as cool as "Cruisin' "-era Smokey Robinson and R. Kelly real talk ("Cake's on the menu/Ain't I supposed to eat it too?"), Songz gets a little more intimate with the skittery high-hats of Atlanta trap and the friendly boing of L.A.
In his five previous albums, Trey Songz established himself as a heartthrob of the R. Kelly bedroom-R&B variety. Since that time, the genre's seen deep-thinking PBR&B artists like Frank Ocean, precocious sonic groundbreakers like the Weeknd, and Ty$, a singer so face-flushingly dirty he makes R. Kelly seem like a Backstreet Boy.
An R&B singer with the smile of the boy next door and the six-pack of a professional athlete, Trey Songz has sometimes been credited with having invented sex. He probably didn't, but he does sing about it a lot, and it's fair to assume that his carnal enthusiasms are partly responsible for a career that's now six albums deep. Trigga, 20 songs long, is packed with it, from opener Cake ("Once I blow the candles out/ Put it in my face") to Mr Steal Your Girl and Touching, Loving.
Trey Songz's sixth album, Trigga, opens with “Cake,” a slow-burner centered around a thinly conceived sexual metaphor (“They say you can't have cake, and eat it too/Ain't that what you're s'posed to do?/Ain't you s'posed to eat it too?/Cake's on the menu”), which simultaneously calls attention to Songz's supple voice and paint-by-numbers approach to songwriting. Most of Trigga proceeds in this fashion, Songz's stellar vocals juxtaposed against uninspired production and clichéd lyrics that traipse through the usual set of R&B themes: sexual prowess, cheating, bad breakups, nights at the club, and so on. The music is sparse, which showcases Songz's easy vocal swagger and distinctive cadence, and most of the songs find him singing in three- or four-part harmony.
“I’d like to have dessert for starters,” Trey Songz sings on “Cake,” the first song from his new album, “Trigga.” Of course, it is the first song — Trey Songz isn’t much given to subtlety, nuance or skipping the lurid details. With R. Kelly’s libido largely silenced because of scandal fallout, the lane is clear for Trey Songz to achieve peak raunch.
Over the course of his career, Trey Songz has pulled from R. Kelly’s vibrant blueprint dedicating his vocals content that quickly grabs the attention of most people between 19-35; women, sex, club antics and straight flexin’. Anticipated as an album to reach No. 1 on Billboard and sell between 80,000 to 90,000 copies (even without 50 Cent buying out all the copies in a Pittsburgh Best Buy on release day), the expectations of Trey Songz’ sixth studio LP Trigga run deep.
On the half-baked “Cake” from Trey Songz’s sixth record, the singer-rapper boasts, “I don’t wanna play by the book, no rules.” It’s a shame this dictum didn’t apply to the music. Songz’s persona and lyrics intimate dangerous abandon, yet these tracks are much too safe, covering ground he’s explored more compellingly in the past. Instead of expanding his reach, he relies on stale double entendres and surprisingly familiar beats from an array of producers including DJ Mustard.