For an artist known for neither tabloid-courting antics nor natural charisma, Trey Songz’s stickability in the higher echelons of R&B has been impressive.
His fifth album covers most bases — syncopated club bangers (2 Reasons), melancholy playboy mopes (Playin’ Hard), anthemic pop choruses (Simply Amazing), aqueous slow jams (the undulating Forever Yours and Pretty Girls Lie, on which the gorgeous arrangement just about counterbalances the dubious sentiments).
Chapter V is admirably cohesive, thanks to Songz sticking mostly with one producer, Troy Taylor, throughout: Taylor’s vocal arrangements in particular coax a lot of personality out of his artist.
In a less expected move, Songz also makes moves into traditional R Kelly territory: cartoon sex delivered with a totally straight face on Panty Wetter, elemental sincerity complete with a middle eight of grandiose vocals on Without a Woman.
It all helps to reinforce Songz’s status as the formidable understudy ofRB.