Thr33 Ringz

Band: T-Pain
Album: Thr33 Ringz
Best song: “Freeze” isn’t bad. “Therapy” is OK. “Can’t Believe It” is probably the best song on the album. “Ringleader Man” is better thaan I expected.
Worst song: “Karaoke” isn’t great.

You know the phrase “Too much of a good thing?” It’s an easy thing to forget, but it’s really evident everywhere. I get tired of so many things. In a short attention span world, we all get tired of stuff quicky. I imagine I’d never get tired of having tons of money.

And so it goes with the auto-tune/vocoder effect. The pitch-shifting effects/device is, in 2009, everywhere. Every song seems to have it. I, back in the long-ago days of Cher’s “Believe” (I still can’t believe it was 11 years ago), told a friend of my love of the effect, “I could listen to any song with that thing on it.” Little did I know that the pop music landscape would provide this to me.

T-Pain started as a novelty with his initial hits were just that. “I’m in Luv with a Stripper” is both a ridiculous idea and a zeitgeist moment. Post-pimp cup and pre-Obama, the song was an urban snapshot featuring two huge up-and-comers in Mike Jones and T-Pain.

I have a place in my heart for T-Pain, as he was born and raised a Muslim. He remains a Muslim, though I have no idea how devout he is. I can’t imagine he’s super devout, as he seems intent on buying “Shawty” a “drank.” He named himself T-Pain to describe his Tallahasse upbringing. I can’t imagine a ton of Muslims in the Florida capital, but, then again, I’m used to living in pretty diverse places.

Eventually, T-Pain became a man-about-genre for hip hop. He’ll sing for anyone — including the Lonely Island guys, in one of their best compositions — and appears to do so. His work with Lil Wayne is a song of legend, but, let’s be honest, it’s annoying just about everyone. Not me… yet.

Thr33 Ringz is full of circus imagery, as one can see in the video for “Can’t Believe It,” wherein T-Pain and Lil Wayne go all over carnivals and crazy imagery. The songs have some of that, though it’s mostly just “Ringleader Man” that has such metaphors. As with most album themes, it’s stupid.

Still, the record is surprisingly good. “Chopped & Skrewed” is really good, with a very strong Ludacris guest spot. “Can’t Believe It” is, not surprisingly, buoyed by Lil Wayne. “Ringleader Man” has T-Pain without his beloved vocal effects and is actually a nice slow jam (with ridiculous lyrics, but still). Ciara sounds great on “Blowing Up” and noted spousal abuser and certifiable bad person Chris Brown makes “Freeze” a quality song.

“Superstar Lady” is weak and I can entirely do without whatever it is Young Cash purports to be. “Digital” is a nice groove, but the lyrics are moronic.

So, T-Pain, I enjoy your auto-tuning ways. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing, buddy.

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  • About Me

    I'm Ross Jordan Gianfortune. I am not a writer, but I sometimes write here about music and my life. I live in Washington, DC.

    I used to review each of Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 albums of all time. Now I'm writing about albums I own.

    My work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Gazette, The Atlantic, Sno-Cone and a bunch of defunct zines.

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