duke-new“Tremaine” – The Album
– Trey Songz –  
Atlantic Records

The entire history of soul music, since Ray Charles in the late 40s and early 50s, sang of the virtues of feminine beauty, virtues and sexuality has been the sacred meets the sensual. The Genius, as Charles was simply known, blended the sacred music of Negro spirituals and hymns with lyrics of love, romance and carnal pleasures, which caused many church folk to accuse him of musical blasphemy.
But like many of his contemporaries Charles was musically skilled, enough to understand the art of seduction and musical foreplay to still earn musical merit and create a style that would be loved by millions, as well as influence his peers and musical descendants.
Soul produced legendary female singers like Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, Etta James, Mary J. Blige, Patti Labelle and Anita Baker, just to name a few.
But male soul balladeers seemed to have a special place in the music world.
Maybe it was the almost pulpit approach that Black men utilized to serenade in a style of catching the holy ghost.
In the 1960s, Otis Redding, Sam And Dave, Solomon Burke and the Godfather himself, James Brown, all had roots in the church and it seeped even into the secular music they were doing that sold millions worldwide.
By the 1970s, soul music had become an art form with the genre selling more than ever.
Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, who spawned a young Philadelphian with a gruff voice by the name of Teddy Pendergrass all sold gazillions of recordings, with songs of love and lust all blurred by the intricate art of subtlety.
Then came Prince in the late 70s and the whole ball game changed.
The Minneapolis Wunderkind was able to weave the romantic and the explicit in such a way that no one has even been able to duplicate it ever since.
The late, great Miles Davis said that Prince could say things that people would find cute coming from him, and offensive from others.
R. Kelly would try and simply come off as crass and classless.
In the 80s Luther Vandross, Freddie Jackson and Billy Ocean carried on the tradition of the 70s r’n’b troubadours.
In the 90s, r’n’b would become more explicit and less subtle.
Artists like Usher, Ne-Yo and Tevin Campbell would try to preserve the smooth approach to baby making music, but would eventually be overshadowed by the more explicit lyrics of artists like Jeremih, Chris Brown, The-Dream, Akon and of course Trey Songz.
The man-born Tremaine Aldon Neverson (hence the name of his latest album) makes no bones about using pornography on his 7th set.
So much so that production takes a back seat on his latest offering, which at least in the past has always been top notch.
The mindless pop of “Priceless” goes absolutely nowhere musically and is so out of place with the rest of the album with its four-letter word imagery that it should have been left off this offering entirely.
“# 1 Fan” sounds like the sort of adolescent smut that young male teens spoke of when they went to see 1980s soft-core porn flicks like “Porky’s” and “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.”
“Playboy”, “The Sheets…Still” and “Animal” all miss the point.
Trey Songz is too talented for music that will have a hard time getting the attention of anyone other than porn lovers and immature fans who would best be invited to explore the music Redding, Pendergrass and The Right Reverend Green.
Sometimes it’s not what you see, but what you don’t see. That’s what is known as “the art of seduction”!
Rating = 5/10