Love vs. Money
|Love vs. Money|
|Studio album by The-Dream|
|Released||March 10, 2009|
|Label||Radio Killa, Def Jam|
|Producer||The-Dream, Carlos "Los Da Mystro" McKinney, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Lil Jon|
|Singles from Love vs. Money|
Love vs. Money is the second studio album by American recording artist The-Dream, released on March 10, 2009, by Radio Killa and Def Jam Recordings. It is the follow-up to his 2007 debut Love Hate and was written and produced primarily by The-Dream and creative partner Christopher "Tricky" Stewart. Recording sessions for the album took place at several recording studios, including Chung King Studios in New York City and Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas.
Expanding on its predecessor's R&B aesthetics, the album incorporates elements of electro and pop music. With the album, The-Dream sought to amplify the dynamics of his debut album. Love vs. Money features recurring themes of seduction, rejection, and money. Music writers have noted the album for its layered musical elements, sonic quality, sexual subject matter, and clever lyrics.
The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 151,000 copies in its first week. It spent 17 weeks on the chart and, as of May 2009, it has sold 331,000 copies in the United States. The album produced four singles that reached the Billboard charts, including "Rockin' That Shit", "Walkin' on the Moon" and "Sweat It Out". Upon its release, Love vs. Money received general acclaim from music critics and was listed by publications as amongst the best albums of 2009.
Background and recording
The album is the follow-up to The-Dream's gold-certified debut album, Love Hate (2007). He re-teamed with his production partner Christopher Stewart, who produced most of the tracks on the album, and Los Da Maestro. He also enlisted the help of Lil Jon for the song "Let Me See the Booty". He initially stated that he had collaborated with Ludacris and Fabolous, however they failed to appear on the final track listing. At an album listening event, a song booklet was given showing the album's initial track listing, including the unreleased "Touch & Feel" and "Nothing but Love". Rappers Kanye West and singer Mariah Carey both appear on the album as guest features.
Recording sessions for the album took place at Chung King Studios and Legacy Recording Studios in New York, with additional recording done in Las Vegas, Nevada, Malibu, California, and Triangle Sound Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. The album's packaging features photography by Joseph Cultice.
Music and lyrics
A sample of "Fancy" which showcases the relaxed, smooth composition style on the album.
"Walkin' on the Moon" features an electrically driven beat and contains a guest verse delivered by musician Kanye West.
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Primarily an R&B album, Love vs. Money incorporates elements of electro and pop music, while its lyrics concern themes of love, sex, and money. The production incorporates elements such as broad synthesizer lines, punchy drumbeats, and computerized vocals. Its musical structure features the "stream-of-consciousness" song transition of The-Dream's debut album Love Hate. Alex Macpherson of The Quietus characterizes the album as "a palindromic song cycle of seduction, rejection, recrimination and ultimately – maybe – validation", writing that "as on Love/Hate, the tension between the character The-Dream likes to project – the cocky, preening, slightly lecherous lothario – and the reality of who he is – a slightly bug-eyed chump – proves fruitful." Macpherson views the album's centrepiece, its two title tracks, as a "stürm und drang" turning point for The-Dream's character, in which he mulls over a disastrous relationship. Jordan Sargent, critic for PopMatters, mused on The-Dream's approach to composition:
He doubled down on his signature formula of classicist R&B song structures and themes fused with production influenced as much by Southern rap as Prince. And with the album’s four-song centerpiece, [The-Dream] fleshes out the album’s central conceit (the push/pull between love and money) with a jaw-droppingly operatic suite that blazes a trail from industrial beats to jazz pianos to beatboxing. It’s sandwiched in between sex jams that are both goofy and futuristic, adding up to an album equally suited for the bedroom, the car, and the stage.
The Washington Post's Allison Stewart writes that the album "cribs heavily from vintage R. Kelly in the same way its predecessor,... 'Love Hate', borrowed from 'Purple Rain'-era Prince". The track "Kelly's 12 Play" references R. Kelly's 1993 album 12 Play. Writer Piero Scaruffi views Love vs. Money as having more "melancholy ballads" than its predecessor. In an interview for DJBooth, The-Dream discussed his musical approach to the album, stating "This album's gonna be the same thing – a little more beefed up, I'm just gonna give you more. Every album I'm just gonna try to give you more of me, and what I think about certain things... This album is just gonna be the first album on some out of this world crack, basically". In an interview for The Village Voice, he discussed his use of melody, repetition, and hooks, relating it to child discipline, saying that "Americans are not the biggest listeners. I didn't listen, which is why my granddaddy beat me half the time. It's only when the belt is swinging at you in the same repetitive manner that you actually start to listen. So it's all about creating a belt on the song that repetitiously swings at you. It doesn't mean that in between the belt swinging, I'm not saying stuff that means something".
Originally set for release by the end of 2008, the album was released on March 10, 2009 in the United States through The-Dream's imprint label Radio Killa and Def Jam Recordings. Love vs. Money debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 151,000 copies in its first week. It also entered at number one on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and at number three on its Top Digital Albums chart in March 2009. In its second week, the album sold 56,000 copies.
The album's lead single, "Rockin' That Shit", peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The second official single, "My Love" featuring Mariah Carey, peaked at number 82 on the Hot 100 and at number 36 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Billboard's Chris Williams called it "a sumptuous love anthem for couples this spring". The album's third single, "Walkin' on the Moon" featuring Kanye West, peaked at number 87 on the Hot 100 and at number 38 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The album's fourth and final single "Sweat It Out" peaked at number 32 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
By May 2009, Love vs. Money had sold 331,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The-Dream took part in a 21-city tour with R&B artist Keyshia Cole that started on May 13 at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati and concluded at Paramount Theater in Oakland on June 21, 2009. On August 31, 2009, Love vs. Money (Deluxe Edition) was released to iTunes, featuring bonus tracks, including "Hit It On The Road".
|Tiny Mix Tapes|||
Love vs. Money received universal acclaim 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 83, based on 13 reviews. Allmusic editor Andy Kellman commended it as "Love/Hate's equal, stuffed with hooks, ceaselessly absorptive productions, and clever and often funny wordplay". Sean Fennessey of Vibe praised The-Dream's production and stated, "The craft is meticulous, and the sound so epic, and at times, operatic [...] that moments on this album comprise some of the best pop music of the decade". Ajitpaul Mangat of Tiny Mix Tapes commended his interpretation of the "pop formula" and dubbed the album "a fascinating and at-times sonically remarkable post-structuralist-esque move". The Boston Globe's Ken Capobianco called it "a seamless, brilliantly produced affair featuring his unmatched contemporary pop technique and songwriting craftsmanship".
In his review for Rolling Stone magazine, Jody Rosen found most of the album's songs "unforgettable" and stated, "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". Alex Macpherson of The Quietus noted its cyclical thematic structure, but stated, "it's how the wheel turns, endlessly and inevitably, which is what compels about Love vs Money." Slant Magazine's Wilson McBee viewed it as an improvement over Love Hate and wrote that it "keeps to the same aesthetic touchstones [...] while cranking up the gears of ambition". McBee called the album "a cohesive, front-to-back artistic statement" and commented on its studio and hook-oriented "songcraft": "What keeps all this over-production from being distracting is Nash's intelligent arrangements and a keen avoidance of clutter."
In a mixed review, Entertainment Weekly's Mikael Wood felt that the lyrics are marred by "material obsession", and The-Dream's "vision of romance mostly plays like a nightmare". Robert Christgau, writing in Blender magazine, said that The-Dream "will turn on only the many hopeful ladies who consider Patrón the most exquisite of aphrodisiacs". In his consumer guide for MSN Music, Christgau gave it a two-star honorable mention, indicating a "likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy". Tyler Fisher of PopMatters found its weaknesses to be "cliché love songs, too many similar beats and melodies, and a lack of energy", although he called it "an R&B pop album with great production, composition, and lyricism". Okayplayer's Sean Deezill said that the album offers "impressive, yet, familiar production, unorganized structure, catchy radio tracks, and laughable lyrics".
|2.||"Rockin' That Shit"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||3:41|
|3.||"Walkin' on the Moon" (featuring Kanye West)||The-Dream, Los Da Mystro, Kanye West||4:14|
|4.||"My Love" (featuring Mariah Carey)||The-Dream, Los Da Mystro (co.)||3:24|
|5.||"Put It Down"||The-Dream, Los Da Mystro||5:01|
|6.||"Sweat It Out"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||4:24|
|7.||"Take U Home 2 My Mama"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||3:39|
|8.||"Love vs. Money"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||4:11|
|9.||"Love vs. Money, Pt. 2"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||4:12|
|10.||"Fancy"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||6:29|
|11.||"Right Side of My Brain"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||4:26|
|12.||"Mr. Yeah"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||4:53|
|13.||"Kelly's 12 Play"||The-Dream, Los Da Mystro||4:17|
|14.||"Let Me See the Booty" (featuring Lil Jon)||The-Dream, Lil Jon||3:34|
|15.||"Hater"||The-Dream, Christopher Stewart||5:29|
|16.||"Rockin' That Shit (Remix)" (featuring DJ Khaled, Fabolous, Juelz Santana, Rick Ross & Ludacris)||The-Dream, Los Da Mystro||5:00|
|U.S. Billboard 200||2|
|U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||1|
|U.S. Billboard Top Digital Albums||3|
- Crosley, Hillary. The Dream's New Album Bumped To March. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- "The-Dream Spreads The 'Love' On New Album". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- "The-Dream talks about his upcoming collabo album with Kanye West". morrisvideos. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- The-Dream 'Love vs. Money' Album Listening. Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine Accessed 2009-01-30.
- Hope, Clover. Review: Love vs. Money. The Village Voice. Michael Cohen Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- "The-Dream – Love vs Money CD Album". Muze. CD Universe. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- Carter, Lauren. Review: Love vs. Money. Boston Herald. Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Stewart, Allison. Review: Love vs. Money. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Fisher, Tyler. Review: Love vs. Money. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Mangat, Ajitpaul. Review: Love vs. Money. Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- McBee, Wilson. Review: Love vs. Money. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Macpherson, Alex (2009-04-02). "The-Dream". The Quietus. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- Sargent, Jordan (2009-12-18). "Slipped Disc: The-Dream – Love vs. Money". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- Scaruffi, Piero. "The History of Rock Music. The-Dream: biography, discography, review, links". Piero Scaruffi. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
- "The-Dream & Tricky Stewart Interview". DJBooth. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- Caulfield, Keith. Kelly Clarkson Tops Billboard 200. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Widow, Black. R&B Chart Movement: The Dream Takes The Crown, J-Holiday Grabs Second Place. SixShot. Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Digital Albums: Week of March 28, 2009. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
- Caulfield, Keith. Kelly Clarkson Stays On Top Of Billboard 200. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Chart History: 'Rockin' That Thang'. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Chart History: 'My Love'. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Williams, Chris. Singles Reviews: 'My Love'. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Chart History: 'Walkin' on the Moon'. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: Week of 10/13/09. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Concepcion, Mariel. The-Dream, Keyshia Cole Plan Tour. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Love vs. Money. iTunes Store. Retrieved on 2010-05-04.
- Kellman, Andy. Review: Love vs. Money. Allmusic. All Media Guide Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Christgau, Robert. Review: Love vs. Money. Blender. Alpha Media Group Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Wood, Mikael. Review: Love vs. Money. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Rosen, Jody. Review: Love vs. Money. Rolling Stone. Jann S. WennerRetrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Jones, Steve. Review: Love vs. Money. USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Love vs. Money (2009): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Fennessey, Sean. Review: Love vs. Money. Vibe. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Capobianco, Ken. Review: Love vs. Money. The Boston Globe. Christopher M. Mayer Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: Love vs. Money". MSN Music: April 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-09-29.
- Christgau, Robert. CG 90s: Key to Icons. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
- Deezill, Sean. Review: Love vs. Money. Okayplayer. Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Staff. The 25 Best Albums of 2009. Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner Retrieved on 2009-12-27.
- Tyrangiel, Josh. Top 10 Albums: 6) Love vs. Money. Time. Time Inc. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
- Credits: Love vs. Money. Allmusic. All Media Guide Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Love vs. Money at Discogs (list of releases)
- "The-Dream, Has High Hopes for New Album" by New York Times