17 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

At almost 20 songs long, Passion, Pain & Pleasure is like two albums in one. The first half is a follow-up to Trey Songz’s smash 2009 album Ready, with playful bedroom songs like “Love Faces,” “Massage” and “Doorbell.” This is Trey’s comfort zone — it’s what he does best, but it’s also nice to see the singer venture into new territory on the second half of this album. “Red Lipstick” is a dense, dizzying soundscape, while the brooding “Unfortunate” is a rejoinder to Kanye West’s recent hits “Heartless” and “Love Lockdown.” The songs at the end of the album push the boundaries even further. “Blind” is a rock song along the lines of Coldplay while “You Just Need Me” is a club song comparable to Lady Gaga. While both songs are obvious cash-ins on recent trends, it’s good to see Trey pushing himself and these songs give some sense of where he could go in the future. Despite the new ideas fans of traditional smooth R&B will be satiated by a trio of songs in the album’s midsection. “Can’t Be Friends,” “Please Return My Call” and “Made to Be Together” form a superlative mini-album within the larger framework of Passion, Pain & Pleasure.

EDITORS’ NOTES

At almost 20 songs long, Passion, Pain & Pleasure is like two albums in one. The first half is a follow-up to Trey Songz’s smash 2009 album Ready, with playful bedroom songs like “Love Faces,” “Massage” and “Doorbell.” This is Trey’s comfort zone — it’s what he does best, but it’s also nice to see the singer venture into new territory on the second half of this album. “Red Lipstick” is a dense, dizzying soundscape, while the brooding “Unfortunate” is a rejoinder to Kanye West’s recent hits “Heartless” and “Love Lockdown.” The songs at the end of the album push the boundaries even further. “Blind” is a rock song along the lines of Coldplay while “You Just Need Me” is a club song comparable to Lady Gaga. While both songs are obvious cash-ins on recent trends, it’s good to see Trey pushing himself and these songs give some sense of where he could go in the future. Despite the new ideas fans of traditional smooth R&B will be satiated by a trio of songs in the album’s midsection. “Can’t Be Friends,” “Please Return My Call” and “Made to Be Together” form a superlative mini-album within the larger framework of Passion, Pain & Pleasure.

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