Open Invitation

In between appearing in big-budget action films (most recently “Fast Five,” and  “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,”) and writing a successful self-help book, singer Tyrese Gibson found the time to cut a new album, “Open Invitation.” One might think that Tyrese’s thespian and literary pursuits would take away from his music, but the opposite is true. Now that the singer’s habit of trying on different personalities — his last album, 2006’s double-disc “Alter Ego,”  features Tyrese rapping under the alias “Black Ty” — is fully channeled elsewhere,  he is again making great, straightforward R&B.

Tyrese has taken a page out of the Ice Cube handbook: While Cube occasionally takes a break from making family movies to make an R-rated recording, Gibson breaks up the monotony of cinematic robot wars with a sweet album of love songs. Well, with a couple of exceptions: “Too Easy,” featuring Ludacris, is just Gibson talking about how rich and handsome he is, and on “I Gotta Chick,” Tyrese talks about a lady who is a “sex soldier” — but considering the track features Rick Ross and R. Kelly, it’s more subdued than it could’ve been.  

Overall, though, both the subject matter and Tyrese’s vocals on this first release from his own Voltron Recordz imprint are dreamy and swoon-worthy. “Stay” and “Nothing on You” are breezy jams about fighting through romantic rough patches. On “One Night,” Tyrese works to make a woman fall in love with him over the course of an evening; it’d be even more alluring if the instrumental resemblance to Trey Songz’s “I Invented Sex” wasn’t such a distraction. With “It’s All On Me,” Gibson offers to open his bank account to the right woman.

Considering the man is a New York Times bestselling author, a blockbuster actor and, thanks to this latest album, once again an R&B force to be reckoned with, it’s a pretty generous offer.

— Sarah Godfrey

Recommended Tracks

“Stay,” “It’s All On Me,” “Nothing On You”