After what seems like an eternity, Tank’s first three albums have finally arrived on streaming platforms. For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to revisit Tank’s third album, Sex, Love & Pain. Tank already had a substantial fan base following his first two albums, Forces of Nature and One Man. Instead of oversaturating the market, Tank found time to perfect his writing craft by penning hits for the likes of Dave Hollister, Brian McKnight, Jamie Foxx, and Marques Houston. He also found the time to bless songstress Fantasia, Monica, and Kelly Rowland with his pen game.
Tank’s third album, Sex, Love & Pain, hit stores on May 15, 2007. The first single was the passionate ballad “Please Don’t Go”, about a man trying his best to get his woman back. I remember you couldn’t go anywhere in the spring of 2007 without hearing that song, and it was the perfect ‘return to form’ for Tank.
Sex, Love & Pain opens with “Coldest.” For the first two and half minutes of the song, listeners receive a eutrophic slow jam that could stand alone on its own as an expletory interlude. Tank then changes the tempo and takes it to the dance floor for about two minutes before taking us back into ballad territory. Now, I understand what Tank was going for from an artistic standpoint, and it is still a great song. However, I wish it were broken up into one song and then two interludes placed somewhere else on the album.
Tank finds time to set the mood with “My Body” and avoids becoming vulgar. The heartbreak motif appears on “I Hate U,” and anyone who has ever experienced heartbreak can relate. Quite honestly, “I Hate U” is a testament to Tank’s songwriting ability. In my opinion, if he gave the song to a pop artist like Justin Timberlake, we probably would have heard it covered on Glee at some point. The next single, “Heartbreaker,” follows and is another winner before transitioning to “Who Dat,” which finds Tank questioning the man who replaced him.
The sexy vibes return on “When” while the last three songs, “Wedding Song,” “My Heart,” and “I Love You,” all successfully explore the facets of regret. Tank then closes out his third album with “I Love Them Girls (Timbaland Remix).” Two years prior, Tank released “I Love Them Girls, Pt. 1,” a sexy slow jam that he later gave to Marques Houston. Houston’s version of the song appeared on some pressings of the singer’s 2005 album, Naked, as a bonus track. However, Tank flat out sings the hell of the song, and I wish Part 1 had appeared on this album as a bonus track.
Overall, Tank’s junior album is a solid one that is worthy of all its accolades. However, I did have a few issues with it. In my opinion, the interlude with Bishop Cognac after “When” totally throws off the album’s overall vibe. Furthermore, Tank has a concept album here. My film critic side feels that with some resequencing of a few tracks, the album would serve as the perfect soundtrack to a short film that explores a relationship.
Arriving in stores three days before I turned 26, Sex, Love & Pain is a much stronger album than I remember. Hearing Sex, Love & Pain at age 40, I now have it as my second favorite Tank album, behind Now or Never.
Final Grade A-
Sex, Love & Pain is available on all streaming platforms.