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Over the past couple of years, The–Dream has become, as he repeatedly boasts on Love vs. Money, a “radio killa . . . R&B gorilla.” The Atlanta recording studio that the singer — songwriter shares with beat magician Tricky Stewart became a virtual hit factory, churning out tuneful and inventive smashes for the likes of Rihanna (“Umbrella”) and Beyoncé (“Single Ladies”).

But with his second CD, the man born Terius Nash leaps into another league. These 14 songs draw on pro forma R&B subject matter: sex, sex in VIP rooms, breakup sex, makeup sex. But the combination of classicist songcraft, wild sound collage and a muse that partakes equally of the sensual and the silly makes Love vs. Money far more than just an accomplished genre piece. The most obvious model is R. Kelly, whom Dream name–checks in the swirling slow-jam “Kelly’s 12 Play,” a tale of a musically enhanced sexcapade. “Sweat It Out” is a hilarious conceit about sex and grooming that begins with Dream cautioning, “Girl, call up Tisha, your beautician/’Cause your hair is gon’ need fixin’.”

Tricky’s beats call to mind both Timbaland and Trent Reznor, filled with blasts of dissonance, jazzlike chord changes, and background shouts and hisses that ricochet across the stereo spectrum, and in the six–and–a–half–minute mini–epic “Fancy,” a symphonic multitracked chorale. The end result is genuinely odd: at once avant-garde dance music and radio-friendly pop, sex farce that is genuinely sexy. There isn’t a weak song on Money; most of them are unforgettable. “Cupid ain’t got shit on me,” Dream sings. In 2009, Cupid’s not alone.

SOURCE: http://rollingstone.com

 

** My favorite tracks are “Fancy” and “Right Side Of Ya Brain”