The Dream makes a triumphant return on new triple disc offering.
I’ll admit, I read that The-Dream was making his pseudo return with a 40-song project and I was very concerned. There was no worry about quality, as Terius Nash‘s consistency throughout his career is extremely unsung and underrated. It was more so the fatigue that listeners experience nowadays when it comes to long collections of music. Buzzwords like “filler” or “throwaways” function to diminish the effort artists put into creating an album that is a length they are content with. This was no ordinary album release though.
The 41-year-old is a staple when it comes to R&B, having both written and produced for many of the greats of the past and present. People have been asking for new music from him, and we are in the midst of a deep examination of the current R&B landscape. Everyone wants to know who the king is, and while all of the surrounding talk has been exciting the true statements are made with the music.
The Scorpion or Heartbreak On A Full Moon effect may very well be at play here in terms of how all two hours and 32 minutes of Ménage à Trois: Sextape Vol 1, 2, 3 is taken in by the casual listener. However, in terms of the construction, sonic range, concepts, creativity, and just the evidence of powerful energy controlling The-Dream while he was in the booth, this did not disappoint.
He hasn’t lost a step vocally in any way, shape or form as the falsetto is still symphonic. I always loved how clever and cocky the North Carolina artist can be in his lyrics, and that ability absolutely shines. The production is heavy in certain places yet minimal in others and it all feels appropriate. The best part is the evidence of effort all around.
Everything felt intentional here. Even with the longer songs feeling like vibe sessions, there’s a purpose there. “On The Regular,” “NDA,” and “Rise” all have narratives which lend themselves to those emotive streams of consciousness. The interludes like “Hardcore Pleasure,” although not the ideal start to a project for someone playing the album in a house or car of children, and “Drop Some New Shit (Intro)” are both creative and say a lot without actually doing so. They’re even pretty humorous when you really sit back and think about the fact he started the album with 52 seconds of sex noises.
Nothing here felt like it was just thrown on just to be there. He had a clear intent and was locked in in the studio in order to make his vision come to life. He took it back to the older R&B sounds we know and love but put together some more modern day trap sounding music for those who may have doubted his range.
The 40-track project scared me, I’m not gon’ lie. Dream, you did that. You simultaneously threw your name into the conversation, but inadvertently threw out the gauntlet to every other singer out here. Who else can put together a 40-song project that gets a mostly positive reception?
I understand the whole “I don’t have the time to listen to two and a half hours of music” so I’ll make some personal suggestions even though I do strongly encourage listening to the entire album. My list is as follows, enjoy the album!
Volume 1: Forever, Challenger, On The Regular, Platter, Life
Volume 2: Temptation, NDA, Ready, Gorgeous, Make It Rain, Yours and Mine, Rise
Volume 3: Drop Some New Shit (Intro), Human Beings, U Got A Fan