Songz unabashedly explores his favorite subject on new EP

Anjli Mehta

 In his follow-up to 2010’s Passion, Pain & Pleasure, Trey Songz brings the heat in his new, sexually-charged EP Inevitable. On this EP, Songz refines his R&B vocal chops with five new tracks crafted to compliment a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolate covered strawberries.

If previous singles “Say Aah,” and “I Invented Sex,” taught us anything about Songz, it’s that he clearly has a favorite subject matter for his songs. Even on the tracks that aren’t about romance, Songz has a talent for making anything sound sensual.

On the EP’s opening track, “Top of the World,” Songz pays homage to his hometown of Petersburg, Va. Typically a hip-hop artist’s allegiance to his hometown comes in the form of dance club beats and braggadocio lyrics, but on this track, Songz reveals his penchant for more seductive, fluid beats.

As Songz croons, “If I could I would bring the whole ’hood to the top of the world with me,” you can picture him singing with his eyes closed, subtly nodding his head along to the beat. Even on the lackluster rap bridge, Songz’s agreeing grunts exude instinctive sexuality.

Songz collaborates with rapper Fabolous on the EP’s likely club track, “What I Be On.” Songz and Fabolous were a successful combination with their last danceable single, “Say Ahh,” which gave Songz his first Billboard Top 10 moment.

Though “What I Be On” employs the trite but successful makings of a club hit — money, girls and alcohol — the lifeless beats lack the power and aggression that ignite you to want to get up and dance. “What I Be On” sounds like a song that Chris Brown’s production team gave up on and handed over to Songz for scraps.

Of the EP’s remaining tracks, all of which are stereotypical R&B lovemaking songs, Songz is in his element. Even if the lascivious lyrics wander where they probably shouldn’t, Songz’s vocal talent is undeniable. His voice flows richly as he takes time executing each note.

On “Outside (Part 1)” the blatantly sexual lyrics are a shame, as they distract from Songz’s mellifluous singing. The hook, “let’s make love outside,” falls right in line with the rest of Trey Songz’s not so subtly seductive discography. The song’s cringe-worthy lyrics ruin a laid-back R&B beat reminiscent of Usher’s early career that repeats in the accompaniment.

Even varying the accompaniment up with a slight Spanish guitar influence on “Sex Ain’t Better Than Love” doesn’t distract enough from the sexually charged lyrics. While the lyrics on this track are substantially less raunchy than “Outside (Part 1),” the chorus’ continuous repetition of the song’s title fails to take Songz’s voice where it has the potential to go.

Songz leads with machismo on “I Do,” as he unapologetically declares, “You know I’m the man ’round these parts here.” Just when silly lyrics like, “You say all your gas gone, I’m gon’ fill your tank up/ Fill that piggy bank up, don’t care about no recession,” signal to skip this track, Songz’ shows off his voice on a harmonious bridge that would make Boys II Men proud.

Inevitable is like an over-the-top Valentine’s Day date with a guy in a limousine holding a dozen red roses — it’s slightly uncomfortable in the beginning, but you can tell he means well. Though the EP’s lyrics sometimes flirt with lewdness, Songz’s voice is as seductive as his subject matter.

Printed on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 as: Trey Songz flirts with sensual new album