The-Dream makes everything sound easy.
Whether it's the smashes he's worked on for others - Rihanna's "Umbrella" and "Hard," Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" or Justin Bieber's "Baby" to name a few - or the songs he's built for his previous two albums, The-Dream (aka Terius Nash) never seems to break a sweat.
"Love King" (Def Jam) is no different, packed with simple, infectious melodies and seemingly stream-of-consciousness lyrics. The title track is basically a list of his favorite girls crossed with product placement ("Got girls on my Sprint, my AT&T, got girls on T-Mobile, Metro if it's local") and the current single "Make Up Bag" features relationship advice that boils down to avoiding fights by buying your girlfriend expensive cosmetic carriers. As ill-advised as that sounds, somehow the loping rhythm - and T.I.'s cameo - makes it work.
It's a formula The-Dream uses repeatedly, with success on "F.I.L.A." (short for "Fall in Love Again") and with excessive strain on "Sex Intelligent," where he declares, "It's like trying to rob me with a BB gun, but my love gets it poppin' like the Taliban," and "Florida University," which is not about higher education.
Luckily, The-Dream does try to challenge himself. "Yamaha," with its Minneapolis funk groove, is clearly his way of trying to write an ode to "1999"-era Prince, while the stark "February Love" seems like a nod to Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak."
And it's that striving that elevates "Love King" from simply being more radio-ready filler from the self-proclaimed "Radio Killa."
BOTTOM LINE Effortless radio-ready R&B