We’ll say it: There is no better five song stretch in 2009 than the one that comes in the middle of The-Dream’s impossibly good Love Vs. Money–“Put It Down,” “Sweat It Out,” “Take You Home 2 My Mama,” “Love Vs. Money,” and “Love Vs. Money Part 2.” Take the middle three songs from that run and put them against any r&b record released the last five years and they’ll hold their own. For the source of this accomplishment, besides the obvious one, look to producer Tricky Stewart–Dream’s silent partner, as a friend had it. Like The-Dream, Stewart tweaks rap-inflected r&b banger fare in both directions, putting a shiny, studio gloss on traditional post-R. Kelly club anthem stuff while simultaneously pushing even further Timbaland’s avant-weird Timberlake-period percussive insantity. In amongst all the intricate production nooks, Dream darts in and out, putting all kinds of unlikely, compelling accents on what might in other hands be relatively straightforward songs.
As for Fabolous, well–our opinion is known. His predilection for r&b, is known, too: NMC just did a whole mixtape dedicated to dude’s enormous body of work with singer types. So “Throw It In the Bag” should knock, plain and simple, although it doesn’t. One of those songs you could imagine off the title alone; the taking-your-girlfriend shopping song has been dead since Gangstarr’s “The Mall,” if not way way before that. Perhaps this is because Dream, though his day job is writing for others, is too weird to successfully meet someone halfway–“Walking on the Moon,” the single Kanye-featuring rapper collaboration on Love Vs. Money, is one of the least successful songs on the record. Perhaps Fabolous is worried about other things. Either way, count us–mildly–disappointed. [Hear it at Global Grind]