Contemporary Taste In Music & Why I Hate Trey Songz

Trey Songz
Trey Songz

For the nostalgic among the readership, allow me to set up the basis for this article by taking a stroll down Memory Lane.

I belong to the aging generation demographers and social scientists refer to as "Generation X," those born between the mid 1960’s through the early 1980’s (1965-1980 for those of you who need exact numbers). As such, you know you’re getting old when you start your sentences out with the phrase, “Back in my day, the (fill-in-the-blank) was better!” Being older, wiser, and having a frame of reference for comparing then and now, we say it with a mixture of both pride and regret—proud because we’ve gained the wisdom of experience, and regret because of the loss of simpler times. Back in my day. We say it. Our parents said it. And their parents before them said it. But the truth of the matter is when it comes to music, things truly were better back in the day.

I grew up in the 1970s through the mid 80s. And simply put, both Pop and R&B music was much better then. People in the entertainment industry actually made music; it wasn’t manufactured by machine in a studio. They were artists. They played instruments, which required a long-lost concept called “talent.” And the artists who could combine the talent of playing an instrument with being able to actually sing—as opposed to the simple bellowing out notes found in much of today’s variety of what I would loosely call “music”—were gifted.

Back then, the subject of most music was all about finding love, fond memories of having had it, or how that special person made them feel. I remember growing up with song titles such as Head Over Heels, All This Love, Sara Smiles, Let’s Stay Together. In nearly all of those songs, there was no gratuitous swearing, no gross innuendo, or lyrics which left nothing up to the imagination in these songs. They invoked memories of love…lost, found, or remembered. Easy melodies, calming tempos, and soothing voices truly had charm to soothe the savage beast.

But today’s music almost encourages bestiality. Nothing is left up to the imagination. Performers (if I could bastardize the term) croon out words in a manner which mimics singing. But thanks to their subject matter, lack of originality, and manufactured style, the result is a poor cloning of talent that today’s young listeners—unfortunately for them—have no frame of reference for comparison to examples of the real thing…not unless they were fortunate enough to have grown up in a household where old school music was regularly played.

Take for example the urban contemporary music spectacle who calls himself Trey Songz. Simply put, I don’t like him. I don’t like his (ahem) “music.” In the vernacular of today’s youth, he sucks. Bad.

As someone from an older generation, his appeal to the younger (and in a few instances, older) crowd is something which defies all logic and common sense. The only thing he seems capable of crooning about nowadays is sex…graphically…repetitively…unapologetically. Though there was apparently a time when he was actually making an effort to make music, most of his more recent offerings seem centered around the theme of hyper-sexuality…mostly his own. As a sample, take the lyrics of one of his more well-known pieces, “Love Faces”

The way you bite your lip
Is that your way of tellin' me you like it?
Mmhmm, if I'm the best you ever had girl in your life
Say mmhmm, and when your eyes roll back in your head
Shakin' your legs
Mmhmm, mmhmm, that's what she said

Now I’m not so naïve as to think that the thousands of mostly female urban contemporary music fans who flock to his concerts or purchase his CD’s and mixtapes don’t pump his already inflated ego with the thinking that dollars translate into appeal, and that his popularity somehow vindicates his “talent.” But it only proves that there is a great deal of truth to the old adage that there is no accounting for taste.

What’s to like? He’s a one-trick musical pony, with apparently no versatility of range or style (or subject matter). The true artists of days-gone-by proved they had the versatility and range to appeal beyond a niche segment of music lovers. Older artists like Earth, Wind, & Fire, Madonna, and Whitney Houston made music for everybody, not just sex-crazed youngsters with no ear for discriminating tastes. They made music you could dance to, music which brought back memories, and music which made us feel good, not music set to make one think of only one thing.

And like so many aspects of popular culture (or subculture), ideas that Trey Songz represent become the adopted standard for reality for smaller, unsophisticated minds. His presence in pop culture conveys the idea that what he projects is normal, and a universal standard among most adults (which as any rational thinking person knows is simply not true). Unless he’s an established figure in the adult film industry, no man is going to give a woman hours and hours of recreational sex. Nor does any man—at least most of those I know—think about sex so much that every word that comes from his mouth is a sex-related innuendo. However, young people, being a naïve and impressionable lot, are easily swayed by any idea that has some level of group appeal. Such ideas create cultural standards in the minds of some, even if those standards are unrealistic (and no, I can’t go hours and hours nonstop…nor would I want to. I have other interests, interests which are productive. Just thought I’d throw that one in for the Songz-defenders who will no doubt scream, “You’re just jealous!”)

I find that when artists like Songz opt to take the musical low road and use sex as their gimmick, they are trying desperately to maintain relevancy by courting attention in a constantly shifting music scene with evolving (or is that “devolving”) tastes. However, there has to be a foundation of talent to pull that off. It worked for Madonna. Not so much for Christina Aguilera (despite having loads of talent). The fact that Songz has chosen to adopt an oversexed image so early in his career speaks volumes about his absence of true musical talent (his debut album was only in 2007). After all, sex may sell music, but true talent sells itself.

He likens himself to a more contemporary reincarnation of one of his musical inspirations, R&B semi-crooner R. Kelly, who also contributed to dragging musical sensibilities into the gutter with not only his equally graphic sex-laden tracks, but his (alleged) sexual-related antics which have gotten him into legal hot water a time or two. However, in R. Kelly’s defense, he would occasionally come up with gems which inspired listeners on a spiritual level, such as I Wish, The World’s Greatest, I’m Your Angel (duet with Celine Dion), and his perennial masterpiece, I Believe I Can Fly. Funny thing about R. Kelly though, is he would only seem to come up with these inspirational hits whenever he would get into some kind of trouble involving his sexual proclivities.

Since Trey Songz favors himself to be like a contemporary R. Kelly, is a similar experience what it would take in order to get him to stop trying to recreate the wheel with his oversexed songs…introduce him to the prospect of legal trouble and jail time? If so, I say let’s bring him up on capital charges! Maybe he then will give us rousing spiritual for all times, instead of churning out the crap he’s forced those of us with a frame of reference for better music to listen to every time someone pulls up beside us at a traffic light, or when our younger co-workers on the job feel they need to be “entertained.”

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Comments 14 comments

Birdie 4 years ago

"You're Just Jealous". You're giving them too much credit. They would never be that articulate. It would be more like "You ain't nuthin but a hater!"

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

I stand're absolutely right!

Hazera 4 years ago

You just don't realise that we don't really care your back in the days! Trey songz is the best artist whos keeping RnB in it's flow this year unlike other so called 'RnB artists' such as neyo and usher who have gone into the pop industry! So your article is stupid and pointless! Get your facts right.

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

Oh, I'm sorry sir (that's an assumption on my part...I usually expect a response like yours from women). I apologize for not being young enough to know everything like you! I'm surprised that you didn't call me a "hater," but then, THAT would be too obvious and predictable, even for someone as unsophisticated as yourself. Tell you what...get some years on yourself, learn to expand your musical horizons (or lack thereof), learn what TRUE music is, and stop dulling what's left of your mind with Trey Sorry...err...Trey Songz. Until then, maybe you should stay in a child's place and just accept the fact that you're not old enough to check a real adult. Maybe you should get someone smarter than yourself to read you the article in a way which doesn't offend you. ;)

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MundaneMondays 4 years ago

ROTFL the 2 people at the top, Birdie and Hazera are idiots and are brainwashed by commercial crap ... ..Trey Songz is trash all he knows about is talking about sexual things and pleasing women,,,it's annoying and that not keeping R&B alive ..if you want R&B look at artist like Anthony Hamilton, and 26 and i know from experience what music actually is..notice they said the same thing with no "elaboration" like you're a hater you're jealous since when is it wrong to voice one's opinion ? In addition i'd like to say ....excuse my language sir..but i feel they should stop being "kiss-asses" and respect someone for having the courage to say something that's factual, have you noticed when somethings true people take it to heart ?...Amazing hub ...This is clearly one of the best ..

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

Thank you. It's always no surprise when someone doesn't like a well-thought-out argument against THEIR likes that the only way they can articulate a counter argument is through logic, no reason, no intelligence. I actually have to feel sorry for those so dense that they can be persuaded and influenced by pop culture to think that Trey Songz represents "music." I guess that old saying is true, "Youth is wasted on the young." If you get a chance, read my other postings, "The Negative Influence of Southern Rap Music." ;)

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MundaneMondays 4 years ago

I will, man ..i enjoy people "who know good music", people think it's hating cause you have your points ? lol stated simple facts, I for one can't stand him, i've think i've never heard a song from him that means even means something's similar to people who say lil wayne is good ..and nikki minaj ..when i see nothing headed to that next hub right away..i can't stomach southern music ..unless it's Scarface, J Electronica or Little Brother

Dalton 4 years ago

I too hate Trey Songz. His music makes me want to vomit. I feel physically ill whenever I hear that new song "Dive In". He's nothing but a man whore. I like artists like Billy Joel and Alanis Morissette. That's real talent.

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

Exactly. Artists who exhibit real versatility...that's why Billy Joel still makes music after all these years, and is still respected in the industry.

B-Dawg/RCM 4 years ago

Beyond Politics,

The song says bottoms up. But all I want to hear is Darkin up Darkin up!

all the white man gotta do is darkin up!


AJ 4 years ago

When I came across this article, the title caught my attention. I am not a Trey Songz fan but I want to point out some things in his defense. I was born in 1981 so I have been around great music all of my life. The problem with today's music is there is no balance. Marvin Gaye music was sexual but you had the Stevie Wonders, Smokey Robinsons and others to balance out the genre. There is no balance in R&B today which is the reason it does not appeal to the older generations. The author pointed out that Trey Songz music is about sex, after researching Trey Songz I confirmed that the author opinions are somewhat true. Trey Songz first couple of albums were not as sexual as his current albums. His image was a young thug looking for love or having problems with relationships when he started his career. Trey Songz is one of many of the young R&B artists doing whatever to sell record which goes against everything I stand for morally. Most of these artists are scared to be who they are in the industry because if they do not wear the uniform that is approved by the industry they will not become "successful" in the industry. If we want Trey Songz and other artist to stop singing sexually or as people say “coonery” we have to reach out to the Record Labels and demand that we have more balance(variety of artists) in the industry and stop supporting the artists that do whatever for fame. I do not think Trey Songz is a bad artist he just not in my music catalog. He had songs called Can't Help But Wait and Yo Side Of The Bed that showed a more mature side of the artist. I personally think he is a confused young man who is pressured into making decisions that he will regret later in life. I am thankful I was bless to have variety in music when growing up (Anita Baker, James Ingram, Jennifer Holiday, Stephanie Mills, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and the list goes on forever ). Young people today do not have this variety. As a 31 year old woman I find myself not listening to much R&B anymore because of the lack of variety. Artists that are not mainstream (commercial) are consider neo-soul. Real R&B singers today are classified as neo- soul...the industry is laughable. We just cannot single Trey Songz without making a list and calling them all out. Every young girl had her celebrity crush; mine was Garfield from the group Shai. The girls love Trey Songz because he resembles what they see in school, at work etc. It is sad to say but it is true. The guys I grew up around dress like Shai, Jodeci, Boys 2Men, Dru Hill and a few other groups because that was in style in the late 80's and in the 90's. Trey Songz is only a small portion the problem. You have mothers and fathers allowing their young children to listen to him and sing the lyrics as if the lyrics are not adult content. In Trey Songz defense he is ignorant to his action but it does not make it right. We can only hope he wakes up before it is too late. Beyond Politics I will also check out your other hubs ;)

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oshanae 4 years ago

I agree with AJ i am the same age as well and there is no balance in today music especially in RnB. Artist are to afraid to be themselves, I am not a die hard trey songz fan. I do have a few of his CD's however his current stuff i have grown to be quite bored with, like the bottoms and love faces boring. So these days I am finding a lot of good music through the site bandcamp, it amazing talent in states and overseas that are not mainstream and is producing some great music some of these artist even remind me of sounds from my childhood and before my time. So I suggest to get with bandcamp ditch the mainstream and listen to some quality music from the unknown

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Brinafr3sh 3 years ago from West Coast, United States

Cool article you have here. His song "Just Gotta Make It" was a very meaningful and loving song when it came out in 2003. I agree with you, most of Trey Songz music today is meaningless and dangerously lustful .

Teddy 18 months ago

I'm a nineteen year old and I hate Trey songz music. I hear a lot of people( mainly my friends) complain to why I don't like his music which they consider 'cool'. His music is filled with sexual desires and I hate that.

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