Tremaine – the Album sees Trey Songz remove the mask of his beloved playboy alter ego Trigga as he bears a softer, somewhat remorseful side to his fans. Trey forgoes his usual debauchery, such as seen on his acclaimed 2014 offering Trigga, for a more soulful, passionate sound.
Born in Virginia, it’s difficult to believe Mr. Steal Your Girl was once the shy boy, having to be pushed into the limelight by his step father. After being signed to Atlantic Records, Trey was quick to build up an impressive fan base and in his hits and back catalogue it’s easy to see the influence of Luther Vandross, Prince, R. Kelly and Usher.
These musical influences are glimpsed in the first real stand out track on the album, ‘#1 Fan,’ which chronicles Trey’s performance anxiety when about to seal the deal with his number one fan; there’s not much to be surprised at from the guy who self professes to being the one that invented sex, but this is surprising. The ever confident Trigga is definitely nowhere to be seen.
‘Nobody Else But You’ singles out Trey’s longing for a relationship with the one he let get away but can’t stop thinking about – and what R&B lothario’s album would be complete without this track? The emotional track ‘Playboy’ lets us know of Trey’s desire to settle down with lines lamenting his yearning to give his mother the second grandchild she’s been asking for. He even owns up to his own lack of will power to give up his bachelor life style and how this is affecting his relationships.
‘The Sheets…Still,’ ‘Song Goes Off’ and ‘She Lovin It’ all blend together in their appreciation of women’s sexuality with some misogyny thrown in for good measure; “She say that she don’t wanna be fucked/ I said why the hell are you sleeping naked” is just one of the more questionable lines in ‘She Lovin It’ that marks a slight shift in the tone of the album.
Bouncing on a half Hip Hop, half R&B beat, the album picks up slightly with Animal. Here is where it would seem old habits die hard and Trigga creeps back in as the lyrics are full of Tarzan and Jane metaphors with lines such as ‘I go ape on the donkey/ I be throwing this banana all around.’ We’ll leave it at that.
This section appears to be a stumbling block that is quickly recovered from with heartfelt R&B ballad ‘Priceless.’ Here Trey admits there is always one that he would be willing to trade it all for, and it does the trick of making you forget the blip that is ‘Animal,’ if only briefly.
‘Games We Play’ sees the lone feature on the album from fellow Virginia artist and frequent collaborator MIKExANGEL. The feature is forgettable and adds nothing exciting to the album, keeping up the average mid- tempo vibe that carries the album to the end with similar tracks ‘Picture Perfect’ and ‘Break From Love.’
The appreciation of women, stimulation of club mentality, expression of lust and chronicling the highs and lows of love and relationships are the standard themes running through this sex fuelled album. We knew that Trey was a savage, but on Tremaine, he also tells you how he feels about it, whether that be remorseful, afraid or insecure.
Charting at number 3 in the US and number 40 in the UK, the album is clearly not his best work internationally – Trey appears to lose the emotional connect once outside the range of his die hard US fans. The two sides of Trey Songz become distinct on his new project, as the singer does add some depth to his persona; it’s just a shame that the album as a whole is average and forgettable. Hopefully Trigga will be allowed out to play on the next one.
Tremaine – The Album is out now