The-Dream, "Love King"
Rounding out the deceptively powerful trilogy that's already given us 2007's "Love/Hate" and last year's "Love vs Money," the-Dream sticks to his signature future-soul sound on "Love King," which the singer/songwriter/producer has called the final album he'll release as a solo artist. If that proves true, he's going out in style: Less sprawling but just as richly detailed as "Love vs Money," the 12-track set contains several of the-Dream's finest numbers yet, including "Make Up Bag," in which he advises deep-pocketed husbands and boyfriends on how to avoid the doghouse, and "Yamaha," a spirited piece of Prince worship clearly inspired by "Little Red Corvette." Alas, "Panties to the Side" is no less crude than its title suggests, though the easily offended can always skip ahead to "February Girl," six gorgeous minutes of sweet synth-soul nothings. "I know this may sound stalker-ish," the-Dream admits in his tender choirboy tenor, "but that's because you are the shit." --Mikael Wood