Quick Spins: Reviews of '"Love vs. Money," "La Luz de Ritmo" and "Scream"

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LOVE VS. MONEY

The-Dream

Terius Youngdell Nash, a.k.a. The-Dream, is the singer with the pocket-size voice and the golden pen whose co-writing credits include behemoth hits for Rihanna ("Umbrella"), Britney Spears ("Me Against the Music") and Beyoncé ("Single Ladies").

His sophomore disc, "Love vs. Money," is an occasionally nifty, occasionally uninspired R&B disc that cribs heavily from vintage R. Kelly in the same way its predecessor, Nash's 2007 debut, "Love Hate," borrowed from "Purple Rain"-era Prince.

Nash and his production partner (and "Umbrella" co-conspirator) Christopher "Tricky" Stewart attempt to trick out an entire disc with the same sort of stutters and tics that made "Umbrella" such an idiosyncratic hit, as if hoping enough stop-start beats and electro-voiced distortion effects will work the same magic here.

The pair labors mightily to make sure "Love" isn't the standard collection of bangers and slow jams, but Nash lacks the wide-screen presence necessary to make these songs pop. Kanye West and Mariah Carey (who contribute the sublime, loopy "Walkin' on the Moon" and the textbook-but-still-pretty-great finger-snappy ballad "My Love," respectively) briefly enliven the proceedings, but "Love vs. Money" is otherwise high-concept, middlebrow R&B with a charisma deficit.

Several of its tracks are bedroom jams from the R. Kelly school of ridiculously protracted foreplay: "Sweat It Out" starts with a preparatory trip to the hairdresser and devolves from there; and the laborious "Kelly's 12 Play," in which Nash and his lady get busy to the Kelly classic, may be the least sexy thing here.

-- Allison Stewart

DOWNLOAD THESE: "Walkin' on the Moon," "My Love," "Love vs. Money: Part 2"

LA LUZ DE RITMO

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs


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