|Studio album by The-Dream|
|Released||June 29, 2010|
|Label||Radio Killa, Def Jam|
|Producer||The-Dream (also exec.), Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Los Da Mystro|
|Singles from Love King|
Love King is the third studio album by American recording artist and producer The-Dream, released June 29, 2010, on Radio Killa Records with distribution by Def Jam Recordings. Production for the album took place during 2009 to 2010 and was handled by The-Dream with contributions from Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Los Da Mystro.
The album expands on the suite-like production style and lyrical themes of The-Dream's previous albums. His lyrics are characterized by arrogance and swagger, and deal with traditional R&B themes such as love, sex, money, and infidelity. Love King has been noted by music writers for its layered musical elements, detailed production, arrogant lyrics, and themes of love, money, sex, and infidelity. It has received comparisons to the work of R. Kelly and Prince.
The album debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 58,000 copies in its first week. It produced two singles that achieved minimal Billboard chart success, "Love King" and "Make Up Bag". Upon its release, Love King received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised The-Dream's detailed production and complimented his sexual-themed and boastful lyrics. It was included in several year-end best album lists by music publications.
Background and recording 
Recording sessions for the album took place at Setal Studio in Miami, Florida, Studio At The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada, The Nash Estate in Atlanta, Georgia, and Triangle Sound Studios in Atlanta. After reports of the album being under production, The-Dream said that the album would be his final studio album. In January 2010, he officially stated he was finished recording the album and he called it the best of his three albums.
The album was originally scheduled for a December 2009 release. On September 26, 2009, Rap-Up reported that the album had been pushed back to 2010 release due to The-Dream's busy personal life. Pushed back from May 2010, the album was released June 29, 2010 through The-Dream's imprint label Radio Killa Records and distributed by Def Jam Recordings.
Music and lyrics 
Love King expands on the suite-like production style and de rigueur-R&B themes of his previous two albums. The-Dream has described the album as being "deeper than space". Pitchfork Media's David Drake noted his musical style as "Tin Pan Alley song concepts and an unceasing sense of musical craft", writing "When a song would be best served by space, he gives it plenty. Every piano chord and finger snap and bass hit is in its right place. He sweats every detail but never loses sight of how the album works as a whole".
Tom Ewing of The Guardian viewed that the mood created for the album "captures the dreamy, shimmering lustfulness of summer", writing that its songs "are built around layers of cascading, pulsing synth melodies, with the overall feeling one of tremulous romantic urgency; even an outright bedroom workout like 'Panties to the Side' slips into wistful lushness". The Guardian's Michael Cragg viewed that its "mid-paced songs [...] take the icky sex ballad template perfected by R. Kelly and wraps it in sparse, forward-thinking productions", writing that they "ride crisp, finger-snapping beats augmented by huge synth rushes, while moments of experimentation flutter around the periphery". Noting it as "ear candy", Alex Macpherson of The National wrote that the album features an emphasis on mood over traditional songcraft and elaborated on its music, stating:
|He picks up narratives left hanging from previous albums, magnifies recurring themes and takes signature production techniques to extremes. The album’s structure – a seamless ebb and flow of interlinked songs – is dizzyingly grandiose, underpinned by a complementary sense of theatre and elegance. Most importantly, though, through these devices, Nash reveals more and more of the contradictions and complexities at the core of his work: the instability generated by his obsessive examination of traditional R&B tropes – love, sex, money – from every possible angle; the frictions of his own fractured self-perception.
The-Dream's lyrics are characterized by cockiness and "swagger". Michael Cragg of The Guardian found the lyrics "boastful, ridiculously egocentric and often lyrically hilarious". Anupa Mistry of URB noted The-Dream's "neutralizing alpha male steez" and commented that "the most carnal, but still so everyday, type of passion informs" the album's songs. According to Alex Macpherson, The-Dream, "in both his lyrics and instrumentation [...] moves back and forth between flippancy and heart-swelling sincerity as if they were one and the same; he plays the role of the unfaithful boyfriend convincingly, largely, it seems, because he knows that he’ll find forgiveness soon enough". The narrative of "Make Up Bag" involves an unfaithful boyfriend who advises to make amends for his serial infidelity by buying an expensive cosmetics bag for his girlfriend.
The album's first single "Love King" was released on February 17, 2010 through Def Jam's website. Following its release, The-Dream said that he would release four singles and four music videos prior to the album's release. "Love King" was later released for digital download on March 16, 2010 through iTunes. The song peaked on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at number 37. The second single "Make Up Bag" was sent to U.S. Urban radio on May 11, 2010. It was sent to U.S. Rhythmic radio on June 1, 2010. The song features rapper T.I. and is produced by The-Dream. The single artwork was released on May 19, 2010 and was confirmed to be the second single released from the album. "Make Up Bag" was released June 8, 2010 to iTunes. "Turnt Out" was the album's third single as stated on The-Dream's official website and was released via the iTunes Store on June 21, 2010. On July 22, 2010, The-Dream's official website posted a sneak peek of the official music video for "Turnt Out".
Commercial performance 
The album debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 58,000 copies. It also entered at number three on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and at number seven on the Digital Albums chart. In its second week, the album fell to number 12 on the Billboard 200 and sold 23,000 copies. It moved to number 30 on the chart and sold 11,600 copies in its third week. The album did not chart outside the United States.
Critical response 
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The New York Times||favorable|
Love King received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 79, based on 21 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Allmusic editor Andy Kellman praised The-Dream's musicianship and stated, "his way with a melody, an outrageous line, and an exquisitely adroit rhythm, all components in his immense crazy-quilt song cycle — full of recurring lyrical themes and sonic flourishes — transcend the flaws". Chris Richards of The Washington Post noted its "wonderful pop-synthesis" and stated, "The-Dream blends power-ballad schmaltz with post-crunk brio to create a potent brew". The Boston Globe's Ken Capobianco found The-Dream's vocals to be limited, but lauded his production and stated "the whole set plays as a seamless suite". Billboard's Mikael Wood viewed it as "less sprawling but just as richly detailed as 'Love vs Money'". David Amidon of PopMatters praised The-Dream's "attention to detail" and dubbed it "his most candy-coated album to date [...] a bloated melodic mess of sugar and exotic fruit for the ears". BBC Online's Mike Diver called his production "superb" and wrote that it "ensures almost every track here is a brilliant earworm of an arrangement". Pitchfork Media's David Drake complimented the album's "emotional and melodic excess" and stated, "The-Dream knows where to find the sweet spot, and he has an uncanny knack for how pieces of music fit together".
However, New York Daily News writer Jim Farber panned the album as "a middling R. Kelly rip-off" and The-Dream as "mimmicking the tune-free, R&B vamps of [...] R. Kelly". Ben Ratliff of The New York Times complimented his "modern" musical approach and noted "small-scale epiphanies" in the songs' lyrics, but viewed that it "doesn’t transcend its highest individual moments". Rolling Stone writer Christian Hoard described it as "the soul-music equivalent of Dream's beloved Patrón: Not exactly eccentric, but finely crafted and intoxicating". Entertainment Weekly's Brad Wete noted the early-1980s work of Prince as a prominent influence and stated "even darling Nikki might blush at these racy tunes". Steve Jones of USA Today commented that "his aggressive come-ons echo the darker sides of Prince and R. Kelly. Still, his penchant for catchy hooks and infectious beats makes it easy to overlook the sometimes banal lyrics". Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson compared The-Dream's approach to that of Prince on his early work, writing that the songs' "obsessive-compulsive cleanliness–an almost total lack of analogue instruments, straightforward rhythms, snaps and drones instead of drum kicks–parallels Prince's stripped-down naked funk. Both make minimalism expansive". He praised The-Dream's minimalism and elaborated on its similarity to Prince, stating:
[T]he paisley overtones, while still unmistakably crucial, have mutated into their own virulent strain of neo-sensualism [...] Nash's debt to Prince keeps blossoming in unexpected ways [...] The intelligence of his production (not limited to but including two 'versions' of 'Sex Intelligent'), the sometimes-janky/sometimes-'brilliant wordplay, the complexity of his eroticism all emerge from Love King in holistic fashion. Here is The-Dream touching down in the same way Prince did with 1999. Like that sprawling double album, Love King's journey through the secret life of ass dares to meander, to free associate between tracks, to show just how a little can go a long way.
Boston Herald writer Lauren Carter gave Love King an A- rating and cited it as his best album, stating "While his sound clearly draws from both Prince and R. Kelly, the end product is very much his own, blending silliness with soul-baring sensitivity and contemporary R&B with the recurring themes and melodies of his favorite form of music: classical". Los Angeles Times writer Jeff Weiss commented that "he manages to put a fresher spin on tired tropes". Andrew Rennie of NOW gave the album five out of five stars and praised his "ability to use all colours of the songwriting spectrum [...] he once again takes the genre in bold new directions and improves on classic sounds". Marc Hogan of Spin called The-Dream "bawdy, referential, and effortless-sounding". The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin complimented his "over-the-top raunchiness" and "talent to back up his over-the-top swagger". Rob Harvilla of The Village Voice noted his commitment to "the natural, elegant flow of a capital-A Album" and ability in "taking objectively terrible ideas—getting emotionally involved with this guy, for example, given his penchant for 'Patrónin'' and general sexual profligacy—and making them seem like brilliant ideas". The National's Alex Macpherson complimented his "apparent inability to separate the sublime from the ridiculous" and his competence as a musician, stating "He covers all bases, and erodes the differences between them". Michael Cragg of The Guardian commented that "[his] skill is keeping things minimal" and stated, "Love King doesn't win points for subtlety but, as an example of a producer at the top of his game, it's second to none".
Pitchfork Media ranked the album number 30 on its list of the Top 50 Albums of 2010. New York writer Nitsuh Abebe placed it at number two on his year-end albums list, commending The-Dream's "down-to-earth R&B". August Brown of the Los Angeles Times ranked the album number nine on her year-end list and stated, "What makes Love King the R&B album of the year is the vulnerability that seeps between every glittering, mirrored edge of its production. [...] He’s desperate, he’s brazen, he’s needy. And he’s telling the truth." Rob Harvilla of The Village Voice named Love King the best album of 2010.
Track listing 
|1.||"Love King"||T. Nash, C. McKinney||Los Da Mystro, The-Dream||4:11|
|2.||"Make Up Bag" (featuring T.I.)||T. Nash||The-Dream||4:43|
|4.||"Sex Intelligent"||T. Nash||The-Dream||5:10|
|5.||"Sex Intelligent (Remix)"||T. Nash||The-Dream||4:02|
|6.||"Yamaha"||T. Nash, C. McKinney||Los Da Mystro, The-Dream||4:55|
|7.||"Nikki Part 2"||T. Nash, C. McKinney||Los Da Mystro, The-Dream||2:41|
|8.||"Abyss"||T. Nash, C. McKinney||Los Da Mystro, The-Dream||4:38|
|9.||"Panties to the Side"||T. Nash, C. McKinney||Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, The-Dream||4:06|
|10.||"Turnt Out"||T. Nash, C. McKinney||Los Da Mystro, The-Dream||4:25|
|11.||"February Love"||T. Nash||The-Dream||6:15|
|12.||"Florida University"||T. Nash||The-Dream||5:27|
|Deluxe edition bonus tracks|
|13.||"Veteran"||Los Da Mystro, The-Dream||4:54|
|14.||"Priceless"||Los Da Mystro, The-Dream||6:04|
|15.||"Take Care of Me"||The-Dream||5:39|
|16.||"All Black Everything"||The-Dream||3:53|
|US Billboard 200||4|
|US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||3|
See also 
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- "Behind the Video: The-Dream – ‘Love King’". Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- "The-Dream Calls New Album ‘Best’ Yet". Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine. 2010-01-16. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Graff, Gary (2010-04-06). "The-Dream Recording New Album For December". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- "The-Dream Defers ‘Love King’ to 2010". Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine. 2009-09-26. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- "Check Out The-Dream's Official Love King Album Cover!". The-Dream Music. 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
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- Rap-Up.com || New Music: The-Dream – ‘Turnt Out’. Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine 2010-06-17. Retrieved on 2011-05-31.
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- Roberts, Steven (2010-02-18). "The-Dream Says New Album Love King Is 'Deeper Than Space'". MTV. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Drake, David. Review: Love King. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2010-07-13.
- Ewing, Tom. Move over summer hits – the 'summer jam' is here. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2010-07-28.
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- Caulfield, Keith. Emimem's 'Recovery' Remains at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-07-08.
- R&B/Hip-Hop Albums - Week of July 17, 2010. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-07-08.
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- Kellman. Andy. Review: Love King. Allmusic. All Media Guide Retrieved on 2010-06-29.
- Wete, Brad. Review: Love King. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2010-06-29.
- Weiss, Jeff. Review: Love King. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-06-29.
- Ratliff, Ben. Review: Love King. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2010-06-29.
- Hoard, Christian. Review: Love King. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-06-31.
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- Capobianco, Ken. Review: Love King. The Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2010-06-29.
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- Credits: Love King. Allmusic. All Media Guide Retrieved on 2010-06-29.