|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. He produced the album with Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and Los Da Mystro. It 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.
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.
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 said that he had finished recording Love King and called it his best album yet.
Music and lyrics
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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".
Love King 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.
The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 58,000 copies in its first week. 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.
|The A.V. Club||B+|
|Los Angeles Times|||
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". Los Angeles Times writer Jeff Weiss said that The-Dream "manages to put a fresher spin on tired tropes". Rob Harvilla of The Village Voice credited him for "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 felt that he has an "apparent inability to separate the sublime from the ridiculous" and his competence as a musician: "He covers all bases, and erodes the differences between them". Michael Cragg of The Guardian said that "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". Allmusic's Andy Kellman felt that the album's flaws are transcended by "his way with a melody, an outrageous line, and an exquisitely adroit rhythm, all components in his immense crazy-quilt song cycle". BBC Online's Mike Diver called the production "superb" and wrote that it "ensures almost every track here is a brilliant earworm of an arrangement". Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson said that, like Prince, The-Dream makes "minimalism expansive" and elaborated on how the influence of Prince in The-Dream's music continues "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.
In a mixed review, Ben Ratliff of The New York Times complimented The-Dream's "modern" musical approach and "small-scale epiphanies" in the lyrics, but felt that the album "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". Uncut magazine wrote that The-Dream's "relentless sex-pestering ultimately becomes tiresome but his music can often be magnificent: an aural pavlova of sugar-spun synths and ambrosial harmonies." MSN Music's Robert Christgau gave the album a two-star honorable mention, indicating a "likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy." He cited "Florida University" and "Sex Intelligent" as highlights and quipped, "We know this trickster is 'the last romantic' because, in the very same song, he tells his babydoll to present 'panties to the side'".
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.
|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|
|U.S. Billboard 200||4|
|U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||3|
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