Trey’s at it again, releasing his fifth studio album aptly titled Chapter V next week. iTunes managed to flip an unfortunate leak into a great thing by allowing listeners to stream the full standard edition of the album before they decide to preorder it. Having been given a chance to listen to the album from the Atlantic Records artist, I have a few things to say. I must say before I start that I am an avid Trey fan (member of his fan club avid – don’t judge me) and these are just a consumer’s “concerns”, which I’m entitled to so let me have this.
Trey likes sex – no, scratch that. Trey LOVES sex. Between his mix tapes and the albums he’s released before, a fool would have had to miss that little factoid. He loves it so much that he wrote a song about it – like to hear it? Here it go *plays Chapter V* Just like Passion, Pain & Pleasure before it and Ready before that, Chapter V is dripping (no pun intended) in innuendos that will make the town jezebel blush and giggle. “Dive In” (pretty self-explanatory) and “Panty Wetter” kick off this sultry compilation of love, sex and party anthems. Sex is such a staple of Trey’s repertoire that I almost go numb once I figure out that I’m about to hear four minutes’ of him describing how he’s about to smack it up, flip it and rub down – oh no! That’s a Bell Biv DeVoe lyric actually, but if he’d put something in the album similar to that I wouldn’t have hated it at all.
Listen, if I’m going to listen to somebody sing about sex all the time, it’s going to be Trey because he’s high up on my favorite artists list. I admit that he sings about it very well, but it’s just happening too often. We all know that he’s getting pum-pum tossed at him left and right; this is a part of his everyday life. Here’s the thing, though; it’s not part of MY everyday life. It’s obvious that I’m not going to be able to relate to every single thing that a twenty-seven year old male singer is going to croon about because we have completely different plights but I’m his target audience and I feel like I know too much by now. Literally, if his next album is over seventy percent of sex…
Chapter V isn’t bad, though; the production of these sexy songs is immaculate and it is a sonically sound album. The infusion of hip hop in this R&B album is something you get with Trey because that’s how it’s always been. That doesn’t bother me at all because it usually is on point and Trey’s voice fits that technique. I just would like it if we got less songs like “Panty Wetter” and more songs like “Heart Attack”, “Pretty Girl’s Lie”, and “Simply Amazing” – songs that gives us further insight on Tremaine Neverson. Trey’s cool but I know him already; I’ve gotten tiny glimpses into the mind of Tremaine in the past with “From A Woman’s Hand”, “Can’t Help But Wait”, “Love Lost”, and “Made To Be Together”. I know he’s got it in him but artists sing about what they know, which is what you’re supposed to do. I will say that the presence of sex is startling to dwindle starting with this project – I just think that people’s frustration with how prominent the subject typically is on Trey’s projects is starting to bubble over.
From track nine (“Pretty Girl’s Lie”), Tremaine starts to take the reins and tell the story of his journey further into manhood and it’s plain to see that he has grown up: admitting his guilt after ruining a good thing in “Bad Decisions”; vocalizing the threat of never again getting his Folgers first thing in the morning from his lady as told in “Without A Woman”; describing just how badly he dropped the ball in love on “Fumble” – THESE are the songs we want to hear.
Trey said in an EPK for his debut album seven years ago that a guy could play his music for the lady in his life and it would say everything that man couldn’t say aloud. He knows who he represents in this world in addition to him knowing who his audience is; Trey is starting to lean more into echoing the sentiments of the men he represents at this stage in their lives.
I’ll put it like this: men complain that women are always listening to other women about how to make a man happy. Women are the top consumers of music and a woman lives for a man with a great voice, so if a man wants a woman to do the things that will keep him interested in the relationship shouldn’t he be opening up via music instead of constantly talking about bitches and drinks? I don’t know about other women but when a man starts listing off things that will keep him present mentally, emotionally and physically I’m taking notes!
But what do I know? I’m just a poor black girl trying to make it in the Big Apple.
My final verdict? Chapter V is a good listen once you get past the sex if that’s not your thing. If you dig it then you’re gonna love it even more. I believe in Trey, which keeps me in the store and online buying his music and going to his shows; I know he has it in him to give us that R&B album we’ve been waiting for. That being said, this is definitely is a step up and in the right direction away from Passion, Pain & Pleasure. I bought that too, so don’t come for me.
Standout tracks: honestly? tracks nine through seventeen and “Never Again” – GREAT sneak attack with that one. For this portion of the album, I let the interludes rock mainly because they were songs on his mixtape Anticipation 2 – “Inside” and “Infidelity 2 (Me 4 U)”. Don’t ask questions! I like “2 Reasons” – lovely ratchet tune to Diddy bop to and “Hail Mary” is okay. “Heart Attack” is still fantastic and can I say that I was extremely disappointed that “Sex Ain’t Better Than Love” was not anywhere on this album? It’s what got my hopes up in the first damn place and yes, it was for the Inevitable EP but I wanted it on the album too! It should have been a hidden track but whatever, I don’t work at Atlantic so…
Go buy Chapter V when it drops 8/21! I love you, Trey; don’t think I don’t because I do.