Trey Songz, Hammersmith Apollo, London
This R&B star won't stop banging on about sex
Thursday 31 January 2013
"Any special ladies in the house tonight?" asks the saucy R&B star. He's met with a filling-shattering wail from the predominantly female crowd who can't get enough of this artist's "thang". Everythang’s a “thang” in Trey Songz’s world, a place where everythang revolves around bouts of rumpy pumpy.
His songs and their titles are determinedly lewd. Tracks such as "Dive In" (“Baby girl hold your breath/ We about to get so wet/ Swimming in your body, let me dive in”), “I Invented Sex” (“I want your body like right now/ You know I live a magnum lifestyle/ Baby, turn the lights down/ And I’m a turn you on”) and "Panty Wetter".
He can't stop banging on about sex. During one small stage break we're treated to a video of Songz dressed only in his black undies, performing press-ups and admiring himself in the mirror after a shower. His adoring hordes love it, hollering "Trey" throughout. When a semi-clad woman enters the video, they boo. It's panto.
"Don't let anyone get in the way of your dreams, I mean that... I love myself," he boasts midway through " Successful". And the 28-year-old Virginian with movie-star looks (he's just appeared as the hero in the latest Chainsaw Massacre film) is an undoubted success. Tremaine "Trey" Aldon Neverson has filled a R&B gap, benefiting hugely from Chris Brown's fall from grace in 2009. He's gone from mid-table lounge lizard to top pouter, and his latest, 18-song album, Chapter V, is graced with turns by hip-hop heavy hitters such as Diddy, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross.
However, in an R&B scene emboldened and invigorated by the likes of The Weeknd and, particularly, Frank Ocean, the retro-feeling Songz is the sort of run-of-the-mill smoothie who graces music-video stations from here to Jakarta. He deals in mass market, X Factor-friendly hip-hop, with dollops of sexual innuendo, but is ultimately about as dangerous as Fifi and the Flowertops.
This generous two-hour show is quite often an ordeal, only occasionally redeemed when Songz vaguely sounds like Prince doing "International Lover" or when he adopts some theatricality as he does on " Bad News" where the preening rapper prays for forgiveness and falls to his knees.
Ultimately, it's a slick and polished performance where Trey says all the right thangs to the ladeez - "Ever had a man that you didn't understand?" and "You know everytime I leave, I miss y'all" - but if you're a non-believer this is a crushingly tiresome experience.
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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