Trey Songz - TRIGGA_reviewTrey Songz – TRIGGA
2014; Songbook/Atlantic Records
Day & A Dream Rating: 3.5 out of 5
iTunes Deluxe Edition| Amazon

If there’s anything you can say about Trey Songz, it’s that he never strays from his formula. The Virginia-born crooner who occasionally freestyles from time to time doesn’t fix what isn’t broke, and it’s that strategy that’s kept him in this industry for over a decade and six albums. Well, that, and the fact that the women love Trey.

That said, Songz’s last few LPs have seemed to lack the spark that defined his earlier outings. Some might say that Songz’s 2011 release Passion Pain & Pleasure was where it started, and that Chapter V last year continued the lapse. TRIGGA, Songz’s newest album, is arguably the closest he’s ever come to replicating the sound that he started out with. At the same time, it dares to present some newer sounds than we’re used to from Trigga Trey.

The primary issue that PPP and Chapter V suffered from was monotony – the songs and content were consistent, but too many tracks sounded too similar to one another. In the beginning, TRIGGA seems to fall prey to this same dilemma. Look no further than the three-combo of “Disrespectful,” “Dead Wrong,” and “All We Do.” The three songs all but run into each other and damn near could be strung together into one individual track, save for the feature appearances of Mila J on “Disrespectful” and Ty Dolla $ign on “Dead Wrong,” respectively. That takes away from “All We Do,” one of the album’s clear stand-out cuts. TRIGGA’s lead singles, “NaNa” and “Foreign,” also sound like twins. It’s only the West Coast, built-by-The-Featherstones-but-sounds-like-DJ-Mustard “Touchin’ Lovin” and intro track “Cake” that break up the monotony. Thankfully, the album’s second half more than makes up for the slightly dragging feel of the beginning.

“Touchin’ Lovin’” is just one of the places where Songz experiments; armed with a blistering verse from Nicki Minaj and a catchy beat, there’s no excuse why it shouldn’t be TRIGGA’s next single. Actually, it should have been the next single instead of “Foreign,” but it’s too late for that now. On “Change Your Mind,” Songz employs a smooth beat from Da Internz that sounds lifted up from the 90s R&B vaults. And if you cop TRIGGA’s deluxe edition, “Love Around the World’s” upbeat and grown-and-sexy club feel will definitely stay with you after the album ends. In short, switching up the usual pays off big for him.

But the real value in TRIGGA lies in Songz returning to the storytelling style that made his Ready and Trey Day LPs so enjoyable. The typical Trey tropes of sex, betrayal, drama, the party life, more sex, more drama, and a flirtation with love are present but there’s more meat to them on TRIGGA. “Disrespectful” is all but a homage to Ginuwine – right down to how Trey sings on the track and its hook: “You can call my phone at fo’ in the mornin/ Or you can rush right over whenever I want it” – and Mila J shines on the song, as well. “Y.A.S.” (which is not a BeyHive Roll Call but, rather, an acronym for “You Ain’t Shit”) is spiteful and lamenting, with Trey accepting that his trifling ways have cost him a good woman. Ah, and the Mike WiLL Made It-produced “Late Night,” featuring none other than the Our Father of All Things Ratchet himself Juicy J, will fit in right alongside Drake’s “Trophies” on your “I’ll regret having this much fun tonight night in the morning” playlists.

TRIGGA doesn’t threaten Trey’s formula. Rather, it suggests that he might need to tweak it just a bit. The attempts at a different sound on the LP show that Songz realizes this, too. Nonetheless, it’s Songz’s most complete release of his three so far this decade, and it’s more than worth taking for a spin.