T-Pain
Thr33 Ringz


3.0
good

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
November 17th, 2008 | 50 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Roll up, roll up - the ringtone king brings the circus together for a patchy third album.

In the last few years, Faheem Rasheed Najm has less entered the pop music world than formed a nation inside it. His snappy, robotic vocals under the guise of T-Pain are more or less everywhere, whether it’s booming out of a club (“Lemme buy you a drank!”), booming out of your set-to-MTV television (“Welcome to the good life!”) or booming out of some moron’s mobile phone (“Shawty got them apple-bottom jeans…”). It is this infiltration of the airwaves that lead some people to compare T-Pain to a circus ringleader, running the show. Naturally, Pain didn’t need any further encouragement and thus spawned the theme and concept behind Thr33 Ringz.

Surprisingly (and perhaps thankfully), this has not evolved into a fully-blown concept record. Aside from the bombastic merry-go-round of “Ringleader Man” and a handful of mostly unfunny skits, this is business as usual for Pain- for the uninitiated, urban synth-pop which takes the Autotune “Cher effect” to newfound levels of over-usage. Certainly, it may sound like a run-of-the-mill, superficial club-filler product on paper. Perhaps the greatest surprise of all, then, is that it’s deserving of a little more credit than that.

When analysing the music of T-Pain, it is somewhat of a double-edged sword. It’s hard to fault the man as a vocalist/”sanga”, but this is only because of the ridiculous amount of time he spends pitch correcting, warping and looping it. Sure, it sounds like a lot of fun- “Chopped N Skrewed” sees Pain turn his voice into another instrument in the song, and the thickly layered vocoder harmonies have occasional flashes of robotic pop perfection. Still, it seems odd that he would use the effect on nearly every single track, especially since the two songs where he raps (“Welcome to Thr33 Ringz” and “Karaoke”) are two of the album’s best tracks. His aggressive, cocky and verbose flows recall a Country Grammar-era Nelly, or even his close friend Mr. West. More rapping would also relieve the ears from the vocoder-assisted “ooooohhhhh”s and “yeaaahhhhhh”s that occupy the intro of practically every single song; as well as diversify the record’s sound, which is exactly what it needs.

The environment in which T-Pain finds his voice, provided by the unfortunately named Nappy Boy (having his name shouted in half the songs only makes matters worse), is just as hit and miss. “Reality Show”, which features a full-blown party beat with funky drums and excellent use of piano, organ and guitar, is an example of one of the hits. So, too, is the minimalist verses of “Blowing Up”, which gets even better when synth arpeggios slide over it come chorus time; as well as the Konvicted meets FutureSex/LoveSounds guitar-centric smoothness of “Therapy”. The most notable miss is the ridiculously boring slow-jam of “Long Lap Dance”, as well as the forgettable “Digital”. These songs are really not the kind to show to sceptics who are firm in the belief that T-Pain cannot make anything worthwhile to convince them otherwise.

Another interesting note on Thr33 Ringz is the plethora of guests on the record- certainly, T-Pain has evolved into urban pop’s village bicycle, so it seems only fair that his associates return the favour. The results are split into three groups- either Pain is outperformed, equalled or made to look even better.
Exhibit A: on the syncopated bop of “It Ain’t Me”, the reins are handed over to Senegalese hook-master Akon and the effortlessly cool T.I. Both simply cruise through the beat, gaining the lead over the main man despite an excellent chorus. The same can be said for Kanye’s exceptional verse in “Therapy”, a disappointingly brief cameo given Pain gets especially repetitious in this track.

Exhibit B: the criminally underrated Ciara reminds listeners why she had several number ones by turning out a catchy, highly pleasing duet on “Blowing Up”. The song works on equal parts of both participants- the vocals play off each other impressively, and the chorus is one of the best on the album. With plenty of single potential, this could mean another #1 for Pain and the triumphant return of Miss Harris to the spotlight. The ever-reliable Ludacris also proves to work wonders with his cameo on “Chopped N Skrewed”, still managing to make sleaze sound ever so stylish after all these years.

Exhibit C comes in the form of single “Can’t Believe It”. Whilst Pain makes the song fairly enjoyable despite some downright silly lyrics, it is completely ruined when one Wayne Carter enters the picture. Unwilling to stop at completely wrecking Kanye’s “Barry Bonds” and Usher’s “Love in This Club Part 2”, Lil Wayne continues on his path of destruction by providing possibly his most pointless, misplaced and downright creepy guest spot to date. He can call himself “the greatest rapper alive” all he likes, but whatever he does, he should certainly refrain from singing- even with the assistance of Autotune. The only good to come of this song is a remix featuring the invaluable Justin Timberlake, who helps the remix surpass its original in every way possible.

Thr33 Ringz is certainly a flawed album- it’s not often that the guy who sings the chorus makes records that are exceptional (see Akon, Nate Dogg et al). Having said that, it’s not entirely without merit, either. This is fun, dancefloor-filling pop that shall certainly gain a few more number ones for Mr. Pain to be adding to his CV.



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user ratings (48)
Chart.
2.3
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
bustyagunz
November 17th 2008


911 Comments


great review. i hate chopped n skrewed with a passion though...

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
November 17th 2008


8019 Comments


His album cover looks like a Lil Jon one. I hate T-Pain so much though, great review

Auldy
November 17th 2008


351 Comments


I really like his feature in the "Kiss Kiss" song by Chris Brown, and its video clip, but beyond that, I don't really rate him that highly (or Chris Brown no offense). It seems that he always appears on other peoples hit singles but then cant quite make the transition to make a good album.

Good review though man

AtavanHalen
November 17th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Why the hell would I get offended by that? I hate Chris Brown.

Auldy
November 17th 2008


351 Comments


LOL...just covering the bases...Kiss kiss is a great vid though...very funny

AtavanHalen
November 17th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't seen it, but I'll have a look out for it.
Up next is I Am... Sasha Fierce. It won't get featured because Dave's reviewing it too, but oh well.

Auldy
November 17th 2008


351 Comments


haha...perhaps both reviews will be mega awesome, and both get featured??

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Another very good review DavID. Pos. Hang on a tick; Did you just write that Akon out-sings someone? That chipmunk. Not a chance.

taylormemer
November 17th 2008


4944 Comments


haha...perhaps both reviews will be mega awesome, and both get featured??

Never happens.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2008


17939 Comments


i was just thinking earlier about how i have to download 'kiss kiss' because it was like the best pop song of last year

Auldy
November 17th 2008


351 Comments


best pop song of last year was re-release of thriller by MJ, but no the extra songs

AtavanHalen
November 17th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Did you just write that Akon out-sings someone? That chipmunk. Not a chance.

Heeee's sooo loooooooonelyyyyy

MiK
November 17th 2008


240 Comments


Blah... Epiphany was decent, this is just a load of bull. Now it seems Kanye is also following the vocoder... Good review.

Zippermouth
November 17th 2008


1305 Comments


Lord god, does every song have to feature someone?
I'm not even going to bother with this garbage. Its just a whole bunch o' pimps and whores who happen to have stumbled upon a record contract. Half of em cant even sing.

MiK
November 17th 2008


240 Comments


I'm not even going to bother with this garbage. Its just a whole bunch o' pimps and whores who happen to have stumbled upon a record contract. Half of em cant even sing.


Couldn't have said it better myself :D




ManWomanBoogie
November 17th 2008


185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I like T-Pain, so i'll have to listen to this.

good review.

AtavanHalen
November 17th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm not even going to bother with this garbage. Its just a whole bunch o' pimps and whores who happen to have stumbled upon a record contract. Half of em cant even sing.

yeh man some of them just TALK really fast! pparently they call it RAPPING? wutttt

ManWomanBoogie
November 18th 2008


185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I just heard this, and for the most part it is easily his best work.

AtavanHalen
November 18th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A four bro? Big call.

ManWomanBoogie
November 18th 2008


185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well T-Pain is pretty awesome. I may be overrating, but still this album is pretty darn great.



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