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Trey Songz wants to take over R&B, and he is definitely making a case for himself. The 25 year old Virginia native has come a long way from rocking cornrows and tall-tees. His style may have evolved..but, the music approach…hasn’t really changed. He’s still a crooner. He’s still using a lot of (maybe too much) vibrato. He’s still singing about sex…and lots of it.

His latest effort,  “Passion, Pain & Pleasure” is in stores tomorrow… one short year after the release of his third album Ready ( the project that really established him as a rising star.) Some might argue that it’s too soon, and that he might be over-saturating the market, but I’m all for striking while the iron is hot. There’s only a short window that you have to make your mark, before you’re sent cascading into D-List oblivion, and Trey’s making sure that window stays open a little while longer.

PPP only boasts two features…one with hip-hop hot boy Drake, and one with Drizzy’s label mate and “wife” Nicki Minaj. The Drake feature, “Unusual” is in direct contradiction to it’s title. It’s the usual, Trey “telling you how freaky he can be” kinda track…Drake’s verse is ok. Nothing groundbreaking. Now, the Minaj feature, the first single off the album, “Bottoms Up” is an ode to being drunk in the club. Nothing new there, but it’s definitely fun to dance to, and one of Nicki’s alter egos “Roman Zolanski” helped give the track an added kick.

Trey’s shining moments come on tracks like “Can’t Be Friends” “Please Return My Call” and “Made To Be Together.” Dripping with emotion and passion, these songs give fans a real view of his vocal range, and a break from the usual subject matter. It’s on these tracks, that you’ll have flashbacks of the golden years of R&B… the 90’s.

Trey also shows his versatility on crossover ready tracks like “You Just Need Me” and “Already Taken” (which was featured on the soundtrack for the dance flick Step Up 3D)…and we all know that gaining that pop following means longevity.

If I was a betting woman, I’d pick “Massage” to be the next single… it’s one of my favorites; a mid-tempo cut about a man ready to soothe his lady with a stress relieving rub-down after her long day…and who wouldn’t want that. lol

Final verdict: Trey’s best “album” is still Anticipation, and that was a “mixtape.” Passion, Pain & Pleasure does absolutely nothing to distance him from the R.  Kelly comparisons, as a matter of fact, it probably adds a little fuel to that fire. It’s a solid effort though, and I’m expecting that he’ll see huge success, especially since it’s just been announced that he’ll be featured on Usher‘s “O.M.G. Tour” this fall.

Before you buy…preview the album on Trey’s Myspace and make the decision for yourself.

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