MELANIE J. SIMS
Trey Songz, "Trigga" (Atlantic Records)
Six albums in and making R&B hits almost seems too easy for Trey Songz.
He's got the vocals of a crooner with the swagger of a rapper, and on his latest release, "Trigga," the heartthrob once again darts between the bedroom and bottle service, sending his sweet vocals soaring over a landscape of seductive beats, beautiful melodies and lyrics that beg to be repeated.
But Songz's latest set is missing something: growth. Shuffle through the tracks on "Trigga" and while there's plenty of fun, there's almost zero evidence that Songz's created something that would make his latest album more memorable than the five preceding it. For all its catchiness -- thanks in part to a sampling of Teena Marie's "Oh La La La" -- lead single "Na Na" sounds like something he could have released alongside his biggest pop hit, the Nicki Minaj-assisted "Bottoms Up," in 2010.
Songz blurs the lines between good and bad guy on second single "Smartphones," singing "time is not on our side" in a such a beautiful way, it's easy to forget that the track is about the singer pocket-dialing his main chick while he's hanging with his side chick. And that's where he excels -- singing sweetly about acting badly -- as he demonstrates on "Disrespectful" featuring Mila J, the sister of up-and-comer Jhene Aiko.
Songz ranks high on the list of R&B contemporaries, but perhaps a little self-reflection and musical risk-taking would prove he's bested earlier versions of himself.
"Ain't you tired of this life, don't you ever get bored," Songz quotes his girl asking on the song "Y.A.S."
Some fans will have to wonder the same when it comes to Trey's songs.
Follow Melanie Sims at twitter.com/MelanieJoySims
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.