1977 1977


Terius Nash Terius Nash1977

8 / 10


A few days ago, my personal trainer, also my medicinal Wikipedia and a born womaniser, asked me a question that perfectly defines the features and magnetism of The-Dream. I quote: “How is it possible Christina Milian is with that fat-ass?” And it makes sense. The singer and producer never was a sex symbol, but he has an impressive list of conquests, among which is the singer, and the ladies go crazy over him. Double merit. His music, his lyrics and his way of putting all of his artistic imagery to practice appeals to the most basic instincts, he seduces without holding back, convinces at first sight and has the same conquering powers a diamond has. It's no coincidence he is the king of the R&B castle, especially after the release of the majestic “Love King”, the acclaimed urban gem that made its way to the top 10 lists of many of the main music mags last year.

But even the king has to experience troubled times at some point in his life. First of all, there's the personal stuff: his divorce from Milian, notorious thanks to the paparazzi, has had a big emotional impact on the man, up to the point of him confessing to having had suicidal thoughts in recent months. Second, the artistic side of things: his problems with Def Jam (to which label he's still signed) stemming from the delay in the release of “The Love, IV (Diary Of A Madman)”, led to a heated confrontation between the two parties of which the outcome is still uncertain. For now, the singer has done what he threatened to do: he released a free album on his website as an appetiser for said LP. He signs it with his real name and it's not some dodgy mixtape, but a full on break-up record, confessional and visceral.

On “1977”, our hero's birth year, he doesn't talk about his conquests and crazy nights, successes and triumphs; he doesn't even go on about his ego, fame or money. The better part of the songs refer to loss – loss of a marriage, a mother – “1977 (Miss You Still)”– and happiness. Defiantly raw, “Wake Me When It’s Over”, “Long Gone” and, most of all, “Used To Be” directly and explicitly talk about the decline of the relationship with his former wife and uncover the ins and outs of their breakup with fascinating realism. “Wedding Crasher”, for example, is another convincing composition about the rage and frustration that come with every separation, defined by The-Dream as his “drunk song”, in which every possible reproach comes to the surface, made public by the man without shame and without it sounding like some kind of vengeance. Ingenious he is not, nor a poet, it's all pretty clear and devastatingly simple, but then again maybe that's why it's so impressive.

They're pieces full of recriminations, guilt, bitterness, love and sadness, pure emotional exorcism over some music that is as bitter and gaunt as the lyrics. The production is sober, sombre, paused and rhythmically slow, with no room for the distension and club moves we usually find on his tracks. If you're looking for a new “Walkin’ On The Moon” or “Yamaha”, you will be disappointed. Even so, the result is magnificent, even on the darkest side of his sound, because at the end of the day it's possible that this turn to bitterness and shadow is the biggest attraction of this descent into the inferno of broken love. Terius Nash still has an inimitable and incomparable gift for addictive melodies and lethal choruses, he brings together kitsch synthesisers and moderate beats like no other, and he has a voice sufficiently charismatic to make a record in between records an important title in his career and 2011 R&B in general.

David Broc

* Download “1977”

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