Say hello to TGJ Replay!
Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ features, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s newest retrospective segment – a written quest, if you will, to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday.
Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of pop and Urban pop music hits. Our latest reflective piece will ode birthday boy Trey Songz!
Today, as he hits the big 3-0, learn more about the album that made the Virginia-born beau a household name. Are you ready?….
By mid-2007, singer/songwriter Trey Songz (born Tremaine Neverson) was quickly on his way down “run of the R&B mill” road. Indeed, while watching the likes of fellow Virginia-born beau Chris Brown rise to the heights of fame via his rhythmic-tinged offerings, Songz, on the other hand, saw moderate success with his debut album ‘I Gotta Make It’ (2005) and was poised to see the same with its 2007 follow-up.
After its lead single ‘Wonder Woman’ left many wondering where to find it on charts, the set’s parent album ‘Trey Day’ was pushed back and, in turn, pushed Songz back to the drawing board. The wait for release was short-lived, however, as the positive response to ‘Day’s next single, ‘Can’t Help But Wait,’ finally unlocked the mainstream success he’d so long been unable to access.
Helping boost the album to its #11 debut, the road from commercial irrelevance was quickly finding itself in his rearview. Little did fans know, they were simply getting prepared for what the R&B maestro was getting ready to serve up.
Enter ‘I Need A Girl’…
Two years after his first taste of mainstream success with ‘Can’t Help But Wait,’ Trey tried for a redo with serial hitmaker Stargate via ‘I Need a Girl’ – the lead single from his soon-to-be-delivered third album. But, much like his previous set, the lead single would dominate R&B charts while seeing moderate success on the Billboard Hot 100 and would be forced to pushback from June to September. Undeterred, Songz thought to give fans a “preview” of his forthcoming material aboard the aptly titled mixtape ‘Anticipation.’
The risky move, in conjunction with the day’s top Urban producers and songwriters (Bryan Michael Cox, Stargate, Johnta Austin, and more), a revamped/maturer image with haircut and hypersexualized lyrics to boot, and some timely features (see: Drake‘s ‘Successful’), would prove just the catapult needed to recapture the mainstream success that constantly seemed to elude him.
On the hems of ‘Anticipation’ and Songz swiftly rising social stardom, his third album ‘Ready’ (released August 31) debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 with 131,000 sold. The numbers would finally welcome Trey to the table of mainstream notoriety, a feat all the more impressive given its release in a musical climate that was quickly unwelcoming R&B/rhythmic numbers in favor of electronic dance music.
By the time the album’s fourth official single was released, Songz had proven himself a bonafide hitmaker as each of the set’s releases was performing better than its predecessor. ‘I Invented Sex,’ ‘Ready’s third single, gave him his first chart-topper on the R&B charts while its follow-up, ‘Say Aah,’ saw the Hot 100 finally open wide to welcome tenancy to him.
- ‘I Need a Girl’ (peak – #5 on R&B charts, #59 on Hot 100)
- ‘LOL Smiley Face’ – (peak – #12 on R&B charts, #51 on Hot 100) *note: no official music video
- ‘I Invented Sex’ – (peak – #1 on R&B charts, #42 on Hot 100)
- ‘Say Aah’ – (peak – #3 on R&B charts, #9 on Hot 1oo)
‘Ready’s final two releases, ‘Neighbors Know My Name’ and ‘Your Side of the Bed,’ may have not reached the heights of their sister singles from the same set, but the former would ring itself true in ways beyond what its content alluded. ‘Ready’ demonstrated that Trey was truly ready to enjoy mainstream success and become R&B’s leading crooner.
Admittedly, we give Trey a hard time here at TGJ and it is partially due to the success of ‘Ready.’ Yes, the album is by far our favorite offering from the R&B beau as it encompassed his ability to balance his newfound hypersexuality with songs of substance (see: ‘Your Side of the Bed’). But, the works that followed ‘Ready’ simply exploited and were over-saturated with what Trey thought was a key to success – sex. We can’t knock what works for him, but what we can do is challenge him to take his years of continued success and apply some level of artistic maturity that doesn’t have to mention sex at every hook and corner.
Time will tell if he ever hears our request. Until, we’ll just continue to bump ‘I Invented Sex’ – our fave from ‘Ready.’ What’s yours?