To be ready is to be "duly equipped, completed, adjusted, or arranged, as for an occasion or purpose". To anticipate, highs and lows, good and bad, and accommodate accordingly.
I find it appropriate that the third commercial release from Atlantic Records recording artist Trey Songz is titled as such. The lows of his musical journey have been stunningly apparent, most notably at the beginning of his career. Yet, he has continued to grow. Simple, yet complex, Ready is undoubtedly the most comprehensive work Songz has released to date.
Songz and and long-time producer Troy Taylor are joined by a straight flush of studio giants including: Johnta Austin; Stargate (also known as the dynamic duo: Erik Hermansen and Mikkel S. Eriksen); Bryan Michael-Cox; Sean Garrett (if you don't know him, first let me say, shame on you, 2nd; you'll recognize him from Mario's current hit: "Break Up"); Eric Hudson; and Fisha & Pryce. With these contributions Songz has woven a versatile mix of rock-laced ballads, hip-hop bangers, and borderline bubble gum pop without sacrificing the original R&B sound that has distinguished Trey Songz from others in his genre.
My favorite tracks on the Ready LP include:
#7: "Say Aaah" featuring Fabolous - While this song could easily be seen as the typical bottle-poppin, groupie-love, hip-hop record; there is no doubt that the combination of a catchy hook, danceable beat and slightly original concept (how many people have made songs about literally pouring liquor down a woman's throat?), make it a definite club banger. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the next single.
#9: "Ready To Make Love" - #9 is just a interlude track but, it is absolutely beautiful. Piano, acoustic guitar, string accompaniment and the distinct sound of a marching drum combine with Songz's classic falsetto and impeccable background to produce a ballad straight out of a dream. Wish this was a full-length song. The minute-21 version is on repeat.
#13: "Black Roses" - Incredible rock and roll inspired track with heavy bass drum, crash cymbals, and electric keyboard. Producer out of Michigan (Big 10, let's go!) Bei Maejor deserves major props for this beat. The song definitely includes very introspective lyrics that not only show Songz's vocal ability but, showcases his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve. Good stuff.
#14: "Love Lost" - Another Songbook production written by Songz, Taylor and Edrick Miles. sounds eerily similar to "Human Nature" by Michael Jackson. Another beautiful track that combines well-arranged vocals and an unusual beat. Songz really reaches into the tops of his range around the 3:00 mark.
#6: "Does He Do It" - Written and produced by Sean Garrett and Eric Hudson. Notice Garrett's signature "ayyy!" in the background. LOL. Songz's tenor makes the song more than a filler record.
#12: "Successful" featuring Drake - While this is only an amended version (minus Weezy), I am feelin the re-mastered version and the new verse from Songz. I especially noted the content of the lyrics. See one part of the verse:
"...If I'm the only one and don't nobody else believe it//Then keep it a secret and watch me achieve it//Cuz I know what I want..."
The man can write and I'm glad he spoke on the haters. Sandra Rose should swallow that with her mean self.
#11 and #16: "Be Where You Are" and "Holla If You Need Me" - These tracks remind me more of Trey's original sound and will be instant hits with his core fan base.
#17: "Your Side of The Bed" - Check out the re-mastered version of this track from the Anticipation mixtape. Trey pulls a Prince move with the MAJOR high note around the 3:40 mark.
While the music flows nicely on Ready, I was slightly disappointed that the version distributed via online download and in-stores only includes one track from Songz's early summer mixtape mega-hit, Anticipation (for more on Anticipation read: 'The Heir Apparent'). But, according to Troy Taylor and the good folks at itunes three songs from Anticipation and two videos ("Brand New" and "I Need A Girl") appear on the deluxe download of Ready. Shine Shine baby.
Ultimately, all of the release date snafus and leaks of this album have been well worth the wait. Ready is not only a compilation of great songs but, also allows us to witness the resurgence of R&B in our generation. It's about time. On behalf of those who love R&B as much as I do: we been ready. Thanks for the music.
Ready (Sept. 1st, 2009)
1. Panty Droppa-Intro
2. Neighbors Know My Name
3. I Invented Sex (feat. Drake)
4. I Need A Girl
5. One Love
6. Does He Do It
7. Say Aah
8. LOL:-) (feat. Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em)
9. Ready To Make Luv
10. Jupiter Love
11. Be Where You Are
12. Successful (feat. Drake)
13. Black Roses
14. Love Lost
16. Holla If You Need Me
17. Yo Side Of The Bed
"It's my desire to be the best at what I do. I actually love my job. I love making music, and I love proving to people that I'm worthy of being mentioned with the best, with the elite. It's always been a goal of mine just to make sure, within myself, I stay persistent, and to never let myself down. With that being said, I go hard. That's the only way for me to go." - Trey Songz
Favorite Tracks: "Black Roses", "Say Aaah" feat. Fabolous, "Neighbors Know My Name" (shouts to the boy John "SK" McGee for the production credit), and "Love Lost".
Check This Out: Songz and Drake released the highly anticipated video for the single "Successful". Click HERE to view. No "Breast" you ever had here! Haha. Sorry... :)
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD READY ON ITUNES