Even though Songz’s latest chapter in his ongoing book of seduction doesn’t offer many fresh insights, it does solidify his status as one of contemporary R&B’s supreme lovermen. Songz has refined his balance of lady-pleasing ballads (“Dive In”) and convincing hip-hop-tinged club grooves (“2 Reasons,” “Hail Mary”). While the 70-minute disc could use editing, it does showcase his versatility and lithe vocals. The best songs find him moving beyond technique and digging deeper to find the heart of the material (“Pretty Girl’s Lie” is superb). The 27-year-old is still prone to obviousness, but he’s clearly maturing without losing the sly lasciviousness he borrowed from R. Kelly (“Forever Yours”). Most impressive are the songs that reflect vulnerability (“Fumble,” “Heart Attack”) and respect for women (“Without a Woman”). There have been times when Songz got by more on attitude and style, but throughout this he sings with urgency and expressiveness. “Simply Amazing” might be the big crossover pop hit that exposes him to a whole new audience.
ESSENTIAL “2 Reasons”