Review Summary: Love Hate is 12 songs about dem shawtys filled to the brim with seemingly endless catchy hooks and melodies
Subtlety is certainly not The-Dream's forte, pretty much every track on Love Hate
is about sex or about something that might lead to sex. The songs here are so forward The-Dream even emulates the sounds of his lover's orgasms as the hook in "Falsetto," and admits to stealing his friend's girlfriend in "I Luv Your Girl." What The-Dream may lack in subtlety he most certainly makes up for with incredible hooks and melodies. The-Dream isn't the kind of guy that relies on the main hook in the chorus to carry the weight of the track, no The-Dream seems to inject countless melodies into his songs, a lot of them being throwaways which is unheard of in the genre. This quality is most apparent in tracks like "Fast Car" where every verse is unique, and "I Luv Your Girl" which has a couple stellar bridges. Not to say that the choruses are weak, because they could easily stand on their own. The-Dream's straightforward, catchy approach to the genre makes for a fun and exiting album.
The-Dream was already well known in the music industry even before his first studio album Love Hate
dropped at the end of 2007. Before he was known as the crooner The-Dream, he was known as the hit-maker Terius Nash, having penned smash hits for big artists such as "Umbrella" for Rihanna, "Just Fine" for Mary J Blidge, and "Suffocate" for J. He also went on to co-write the monster hits "Baby" for Justin Bieber and "Single Ladies" for Beyonce. On Love Hate,
Terius Nash takes his unparalleled ability to write hooks and melodies and keeps it all for himself as his solo project The-Dream. Doing it all by himself with only two features turned out to be very successful as Love Hate
is the best pop/R&B album of the 21st century.
The production on Love Hate
is very impressive, the beats on this thing are atmospheric and layered to the teeth. The-Dream writes most of his songs around pretty simple piano or keyboard chords, but it's the layering that gives the songs a big sound out of sparse instrumentation. The beats never overwhelm the main focus: The-Dream's vocals, they merely provide the atmosphere and the rhythm and they do it quite well. The transitions on this record are on another level and would make any producer envious, most specifically the transitions that go between "Fast Car" through "Falsetto." The high quality production, the seamless transitions, and The-Dream's ability to litter his tracks with countless hooks and melodies make for a highly engaging and enjoyable listen.
is disadvantaged a bit because its top heavy and there is a bit too much emphasis on the singles. All three of the incredible singles are in the first half which is typical for a pop record, but Love Hate
has a real album feel and it may have been a good idea to spread them out better. Love Hate
starts off very strong with the two singles "Shawty Is Da ***" and "I Luv your Girl." "Shawty Is Da ***" is a perfect album opener as it says everything there is to know about The-Dream and this record and its catchy, fun, and upbeat. The second track "I Luv Your Girl" is more of a laid back, slower tune showing off The-Dream's ability to inject numerous hooks into his songs all sitting over some delightful electric piano. The third single and the best song on the record Falsetto, is most certainly a baby making slow jam. The-Dream is bold enough to emulate his lover's orgasms sounds in the form of a brilliant falsetto chorus showing that The-Dream is not afraid to show off the top of his range and his falsetto sounds incredible and reminiscent of one of his biggest idols Michael Jackson. Love Hate
is not without its bad tracks of course, but at least there are only two bad tracks, These being "Ditch Dat" and "Mama." "Ditch Dat" is a monotonous and annoying track urging the ladies to ditch their boyfriends and get with The-Dream, but the track is boring and doesn't come off as very sincere. The terrible synth that sounds like the trance pre-set on an entry level recording program that comes in towards the end of the track is more evidence that "Ditch Dat" is a filler track and was probably recorded in a hurry. The album closer "Mama" (about The-Dream's mother no doubt) is a nice sentiment, but falls flat and fails to be an engaging song. It's a shame that the album ends on a sour note, but there's more than enough great tracks throughout Love Hate to make up for it.
The difference between The-Dream and other R&B crooners out there is the self awareness of the silliness, I mean come on Pop/R&B is a very silly genre, being mostly 30 year old black dudes singing songs about sex for 14 year olds. On songs like "Fast Car" which has ridiculous lyrics, you can tell The-Dream is aware of this and just having fun with it which makes the listener have fun as well. His ability to make himself look like the good guy in a song about stealing another guy's girl is impressive to say the least. Love Hate
is the definition of a guilty pleasure, you're going to have a hell of a lot of fun listening to it, but you might want to flip your ipod over when you're jamming in public.