Album review: The-Dream’s ‘Love King’
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In the world of The-Dream, there is only room for the sentiment expressed on the signage of so many airport-adjacent bars: girls, girls, girls. Like many of his contemporary R&B peers, ambiguity is an afterthought. And “Love King,” the lead single of his third album, may as well serve as a manifesto, with its boasting about scoring girls in the club, the church, the trap, his label, his bank — and in New York, L.A., Miami, Chicago, Toronto and Paris.
After all, Terius Nash’s biggest hits, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” were written for the fairer sex. And throughout his solo career, he’s ignored everything but carnal concerns, studiously aping his models Prince and R Kelly, while embellishing his lover-man lust with ornate, Timbaland-influenced productions.
Although his previous efforts amply showcased his admirable melodic gifts and sturdy but soaring falsetto, he projected a facelessness that demarcated him from his idols. “Love King” again finds him covering well-trodden ground, but this time he manages to put a fresher spin on tired tropes — conspiring with T.I. on “Make Up Bag” to list the $5,000 purses a man can purchase to redeem his misbehavior. On “Florida University,” he lambastes a spurned lover calling him out on Twitter.
Behind the boards, he wisely expands his palette, incorporating chopped-and-screwed vocals and arena-ready synths cribbed from Kanye West.
Ultimately, while occasionally repetitive, “Love King” proves that The-Dream’s claim to the throne isn’t unfounded, even if it’s unclear whether he’s left the bedroom in the last five years.
— Jeff Weiss
Three stars (out of four)
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