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By Gus Bode

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Rating: 3 of 5 stars

It seems as though radio stations blazed with the slow melodic sounds of singer/songwriter The-Dream just last week. The artist had two successful albums under his belt in a year and a half, and his writing expertise was in high demand throughout the music industry.


However, in an industry that doesn’t promise longevity, Dream somehow began to fade into the background. After a highly publicized marriage and split, a critically shunned third album and Grammy Award snubs, Dream declared he was done with the industry.

But as with most artists who claim to retire, they never do — which brings us to Dream’s new mixtape, “1977.” Dream recently told Rap-Up magazine this mixtape is the prelude to his fourth album “The Love IV: Diary of a Madman,” to be released later this year.  “1977” shows Dream experimenting with a newer sound and more relatable situations. His lyrics bring edge and honesty that had yet to be seen in his work, as he delivers his deepest truths in an unapologetic way.

The album’s first track, “Wake Me When It’s Over,” finds the artist in a relationship full of conflict so he debates whether to stay or go. Drum-heavy beats and  electronic synths drive the track while the lyrics show his decision to stay until the inevitable end occurs.

Other stand outs include break- up anthem “Long Gone,” “Form of Flattery” and “Ghetto,” which features artist Big Sean.

Dream really steps outside of his comfort zone with “Wedding Crasher.” The production, reminiscent of 80s R&B, puts a modern spin on a familiar sound.

The-Dream has taken his last year of life experiences and creatively translated it into a solid mixtape prelude. His new-found sound easily shows influences from downtempo newcomers Frank Ocean and The Weeknd.

Of course, Dream hasn’t completely abandoned his signature sound, which can be heard on tracks “Rolex” and “Used To Be,” but his transition into a lighter, layered sound is greatly appreciated. This is an artistry that works for Dream and a sound that could serve his fourth studio album well.