Virginia native Trey Songz, affectionately known as “Mr. Steal Your Girl,” is back on the scene with Back Home. The singer’s eighth album finds him reuniting with iconic producer Troy Taylor for his most consistent project since his 2009 breakthrough Ready.
The album opens up with the sultry “Be My Guest.” Featuring production by $K and Troy Taylor is textbook Trey but finds the singer crooning with an industry veteran’s confidence. Songz gets the slow jam vibe going with the next track, “Save It,” and continues the vibe throughout the album’s first nine tracks. One of the things I commend Songz for is the sequencing of the album.
“Circles” is followed by an interlude “Round & Round,” recalling nineties R&B. The songs are a one-two punch perfectly tying together the message of what the singer was going for. Before moving into the album’s self-titled lead single, Trey hits us with one of my favorite songs of 2020, “Cats Got My Tounge.” A slow jam bop that would come off as repetitive and corny in a lesser singer’s hands is Trey at his best.
The tempo does pick up on track 10, “Back Home,” featuring an assist from Summer Walker. The song has grown on me in the past few months, and I really love the video. I also want to give kudos to Trey for a brief homage to New Edition in the song. There are few up-tempo tracks on the project, including “On Call” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and “Nobody’s Watchin.” I wasn’t too keen on those songs as they come off a bit like filler, but neither track is nowhere near as horrid as some of the music on the radio today.
Given that I’m a slow jam and ballad person, I was in my comfort zone with the bulk of “Back Home.” Trey even finds time to address the country’s current racial turmoil with the message song “2020 Riots: How Many Times” and sings about the joys of fatherhood on “I Know a Love.” The lack of club songs may deter some younger fans, but given that we are in the age of COVID, no one is turning up anytime soon.
Now don’t get me wrong. Trey has made quality music since Ready. I’ve enjoyed a minimum of five songs from every album since his 2009 magnum opus. At twenty-two songs (four of which are interludes), Back Home not only solidifies that Songz is ready to mature as an R&B artist but gives us one of 2020’s best R&B albums.
Final Grade A-
Top Tracks: – “Cats Got My Tounge,” “Be My Guest,” “I Know a Love,” “On Top of Me”
Back Home is available on all streaming platforms