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Review & Q+A
A-T-L-A-N-T-A-G-A-THAT’S-WHERE-I-STAY. Before Jeremih, the premiere baby-voiced and baby-faced R&B songsmith was The-Dream. Label beef and a number of other issues have held up a new album from Terius Nash for nearly four years, but before that the songwriter was seemingly unstoppable, racking up dozens of hits for himself and producing & writing for Rihanna, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and more. Part of Universal Music Group’s “Respect The Classics” reissue campaign, Terius’ first (and best) album gets a rare vinyl repress since original copies have become increasingly sought after on the second-hand market. As he has stated in interviews, Terius’ work as The-Dream provides an outlet for a side of him that his work with others rarely touches. While “Umbrella” and “Who Run The World” are, without question, bangers, Dream albums (especially this one) tap into feelings of intimacy, jealousy, infatuation and betrayal that are so tangible, you can almost smell them. Production duties are shared by Tricky Stewart and L.O.S. Da Maestro, and the album’s musical palette favors bright, summery 80’s synth-scapes sprinkled over booming sub-bass licks. The first 8 tracks are straight fire, many of which lead into one another like a continuous party playlist. What makes the vinyl version so special is that the Prince-flavored “Fast Car” and sinister revenge cut “Nikki” are split up between side A and B, so the abrupt transition from the CD version is gone and “Nikki” features a bitter, ice-cold spoken intro from Terius (peep the audio preview tab). Love/Hate isn’t so much a concept album as it is a masterclass in R&B world-building, painting a vivid picture of a place where palm trees sway in the gentle breeze, every car is a droptop on 22”s and everyone is young, black and rich. Love/Hate is, at the same time, a faithful artifact of the era that birthed it, and completely and utterly timeless, and it’s about time Universal gave it the “classic” stamp because I was starting to think it was just me. Recommended.