Thursday, March 19th, 2009

The-Dream – Rockin’ That Thang

We hear the album’s very good, though…


Rodney J. Greene: Dream-by-numbers. Springy toms, bouyant synths, dirty mouth to hide the stars in his eyes. Competent, but not as novel as he has been in the past. I can’t help but feel somewhat cheated.

Doug Robertson: Presumably the rocking they have in mind is the sort that you can get up to in cars, but in reality the only rocking this is going to soundtrack is that of the chair variety. If it wasn’t for the rude words dotted here and there, this could soundtrack the love scene in a Hannah Montana movie.

Martin Skidmore: The odd harmony moments on this are genuinely striking, leaping out from the otherwise restrained R&B vocals. I like The-Dream a great deal – I think he’s learned all the right things from R. Kelly, the production has taken strong lessons from Timbaland’s use of synth washes, the drums are mighty and the harmonies (possibly just double-tracking, I don’t know) make the hook jump out at you. Huge and excellent, one of the best R&B ballads I’ve heard in a while.

Al Shipley: The-Dream has a flair for writerly detail that brings his sometimes unimaginative melodies to life, but in this case it’s all about the tune. The lyrics are such a puff of nothing that he almost seems unable to deny it, shrugging “there’s nothing I can say” amid a chorus that tries to wring drama out of the simple statement that a girl is rocking shit in a way that would make you fall in love with her. And yet it all works, because of how easily you’re swept up in the opulent, glistening layers of melody.

Dave Moore: Unlikely candidate to bring back overuse of the phrase “song cycle” kicks his album off with what, kind of surprisingly, sounds more and more to me like the weakest track — closet-milquetoast lothario does a generic R&B melody over blaring synth line until some painstakingly sculpted multitracking up the scale opens up the song’s more expansive maximalist potential. Doesn’t really get off the ground, though.

Additional Scores

Hillary Brown: [6]
Martin Kavka: [6]

3 Responses to “The-Dream – Rockin’ That Thang”

  1. “And yet it all works, because of how easily you’re swept up in the opulent, glistening layers of melody.”

    this is exactly right

  2. Like all The-Dream songs, this grows on me the more I stay with it (I was quite unimpressed by “Shawty is the Shit” at first, but now I’m all about “Pancakes with the bacon on the side/You should tip her”). I’m quite a fan of that rinky dink synth he’s using here.

  3. Yeah, my review of this doesn’t actually do justice to how I listen to it, which is as a kind of “warm up” for the album. I don’t think it sounds as good on its own, but I mean this thing is quite literally an exercise for him, like “OK, remember me? Great, let’s keep going.” So in a way it’s a solid bridge between the two albums, but by itself it feels like a middle-ground thing rather than a bridge. (Bridge to nowhere.)