The-Dream, ‘Terius Nash: 1977’

The-Dream, Terius Nash to his mom, has postponed the long-awaited "Love IV" and officially releases the free online download he offered over the summer as his fourth CD. These songs mark a different approach for the R&B star known for his unshakable hooks and sex-u-up persona. Here, he turns confessional and shares, perhaps, a bit too much. Presumably, the dark breakup tracks, including "Wake Me When It's Over," deal with his high-profile broken marriage to Christina Milian. On "Used to Be," he spills bile without self-reflection and it's not pretty. When The-Dream gets things right, with the cry-in-my-Patron lament "Wedding Crasher," he shows vulnerability and a keen song sense. His usual sensual production and delicious hooks are missing, but the rawer musical approach serves the lyrics' edges. When he shakes the anger or pain (the aching "Wish You Were Mine") and gets his swag on with "Rolex" and the funky "Real," he shows musical muscles he should flex more often. (Out now)

Ken Capobianco

ESSENTIAL "Wish You Were Mine"