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“Body Work” / “Fuck My Brains Out”

[Radio Killa ; 2011]

By ; June 13, 2011 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Lyrically, R&B has come a long way since R. Kelly’s comparatively innocent insistence that there “ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind.” By today’s standards, Atlanta singer/producer extraordinaire, The-Dream, makes R. Kelly circa 1994 look like Lawrence Welk crossed with The Brady Bunch’s pubescent anthem “Time To Change.” The-Dream loves fucking, and he’s damn good at writing songs about it. The first tastes of his new record, The Love, IV: Diary Of A Mad Man, are “Body Work” and “Fuck My Brains Out,” two tracks that capture opposite spectrums of The-Dream’s songwriting/producing talents, but connected by their blatant nastiness and brutal honesty.

Though both excellent cuts, “Body Work” edges out “Fuck My Brains Out,” if only because it seems to take more risks. A lurching, sparse drumbeat is accompanied by and a synth-bass that rumbles ominously, clashing with The-Dream’s breathy falsetto to the extent that the song almost feels wrong, that it shouldn’t even work. But it does as the chorus bursts open with an unexpected clarity. A plunking piano line burrows underneath the layers of grinding synths, and The-Dream pleads “Show me what I’ve been missin’ / Every time you kiss me / If love is what you’re given, show me what I’m getting” with a sweet sincerity that’s still tinged with pure lust.

“Body Work” is dense and undulates with an almost subtle lasciviousness; “Fuck My Brains Out,” is—shockingly!—more overt. For all intents and purposes, “Fuck My Brains Out,” is more traditional Dream fare—it takes its major cues from 80s R&B and funk, especially Prince, and is unabashedly filthy. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Here, the synths wail like sirens and studio effects are shortened to sound like mid-coital gasps; and the choral hook is as wonderfully thrilling and big as you’d expect. But more than anything, “Fuck My Brains Out,” reminds me of another monstrous, sex-fueled 80s track: Guns N’ Roses’ “Rocket Queen.” The-Dream’s true talent comes from his ability to make a song as sweet and poignant as it is raunchy. It’s not just that the song’s final 30 seconds—with cries of “I’ll always miss that kiss / A lover’s delight”—mirror the piano ballad that closes Appetite For Destruction; but it’s how this sense of loneliness persists throughout his music. “She know I’m a Virgo / and I’m impossible to please,” he sings, that line rife with both self-aggrandizing prowess, as well as abject emptiness. The-Dream is all about sex, but he wants love more.


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