"If I don't sing it, you won't know I did it," Terius "The-Dream" Nash said during his show Saturday at Metro, where fans spent the evening singing along to the aptly nicknamed Radio Killa (also the name of his label), who performed a mix of solo material and songs he's penned for others.
Throughout the last 10 years, The-Dream has been riding the charts, though many of those hits are ones he didn't front. As an in-demand songwriter, collaborator and producer, his resume is studded with Grammys, numerous songwriting credits and high-profile collaborations. Early scores include Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," and there have been seemingly countless other hitmaking assists since. Last year alone, he co-wrote the latter's "6 Inch," featured on Solange's "F.U.B.U.," co-wrote Rihanna's "Woo" and was nominated for two Grammys for his work on Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam," to name but a few of his recent accomplishments. He also released his "Love You to Death" EP, which broadens his lustful explorations into more contemplative meditations on navigating relationships beyond the bedroom.
Though his solo material hasn't seemingly been as appreciated as some of his work for others, it certainly has made its mark, as evidenced by the audience at Metro, who swooned to the percolating grooves of "Purple Kisses" and blush-worthy coos of "Falsetto." And amid all his confident lyrical c'mons, humorous innuendo and fun crowd favorites, he also proved a charismatic frontman with charming dance moves to match.
Newer material highlighted a different perspective in the seduction game, such as on the yearning and romantic, guitar-tipped "Code Blue" from the "Fifty Shades Darker" soundtrack. The table-turning "Rih-Flex" that discussed being confounded by a lover's indifference and his repeated a cappella verse on "Lemon Lean" that drove home the plea to "let me be good to you" both illustrated newfound vulnerability.
While The-Dream held his own with his solo work, he also nodded to what he's crafted with others. Among them, he traversed West's "All of the Lights" and "Ultralight Beam," and Jay Z's "Holy Grail." And he gave props to one of his influences, Prince, blending the icon's work into his own throwback-styled "Fast Car."
The-Dream ended the night with several encores, a welcome but unneeded reminder that a decade in, he still has plenty to give.
Althea Legaspi is a freelance critic.
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