With two solid albums and a Grammy nomination under his belt, Trey Songz was Ready to begin a new chapter in his personal and professional life on his third album. Released on August 31, 2009, Ready notably cemented Songz’s name in the hall of fame of contemporary R&B gents.
“This album is very self-defining and very definitive of the type of artist I’m going to be for the rest of my career,” Songz told Billboard in July 2009.
While we were already familiar with Songz from his 2005 debut I Gotta Make It and his certified gold follow-up Trey Day, Ready introduced his diehard fans to the sexy R&B heartthrob we know today.
Songz chopped his signature cornrows and opted for a fresh clean cut with a more tailored look to match. His journey to grown man status didn’t just stop at the shedding of his braids, his music transformed along with him.
The lyrical content on Ready was sensual and daring. There were signs of vocal maturity that listeners heard through the melodies and in the upgraded song structures this time around.
The table-setter for Ready was the marketing behind it. The rollout included fan interaction via the now-defunct blog SeeFurtherThanIAm.com and new track shared every Monday on Twitter.
One of the biggest noisemakers for Ready was Songz’s Anticipation mixtape. The project was released two months before the album to hold fans over. While a few songs eventually made the album, Anticipation helped solidify his fanbase and introduced a sexier side of Songz that has been displayed throughout the latter parts of his career.
Ready marked a couple of music firsts for Songz. He established his signature “Yuh/Yup” vocal stamp. Songz also experimented with electronic and rock-inspired sounds, exhibited on songs like “Black Roses” and “Love Lost.”
On the chart front, Ready became Songz’ then-highest on the Billboard 200, coming in at number three in its opening week. It’s no surprise that “I Invented Sex” featuring Drake, earned Songz his first chart-topper on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
In addition to its major radio and chart success, Ready became Songz’s first certified gold and platinum album. It was also his first (and only) album to be nominated for a Grammy, making the Best Contemporary Album ballot in 2010.
To celebrate the anniversary of Ready, we’ve ranked 10 of the most favored songs off the album.
10. “Jupiter Love”
Songz takes listeners on an out-of-this-world experience on “Jupiter Love.” Being one of the few slow jams on the album, it adds a mellowness to balance out the hard-knocking tracks. From the twinkling keys to the fantasy-inducing cords, this track can either relax you or put you in the mood.
9. “Yo Side of the Bed”
Songz shows a more vulnerable side on “Yo Side of the Bed.” Stricken with a love lost, he is torn that his girl is gone and might not come back again. It samples the classic single “Purple Rain” by Prince, matching the lyrics with a somber sound.
8. “One Love”
Songz puts it all out there on “One Love.” The electric guitar really cuts through on this track, connecting to the sincerity he’s vocally flaunting. He is willing to put his pride to the side to tell the woman he loves how he feels and that he wants to make her his one and only.
7. “Does He Do It”
Coming in with soft strings, “Does He Do It” is one of the mid-tempo tracks on Ready that bumps due to the bass and revering claps. Songz delivers catchy and swift staccato-like vocals while he sings about knowing that he provides a more enjoyable experience than the other man. By the end of the song, we knew Songz would be the obvious choice.
6. “I Need A Girl”
As the lead single on the album, “I Need A Girl” shows the affectionate side of Songz that capture our initial attention. He’s not quite sure who the lucky lady will be, but he’s out there looking for the right one to settle down and share his life with. The acoustic guitar and strings paired with the claps are what give this song a feel-good groove.
5. “Holla If Ya Need Me”
The relationship may be over, but Songz wants his lady to know that he’ll still be there for whatever she needs. Taking it down rhythmically, the echoing percussion adds a solid texture to the otherwise airy production. Songz truly comes alive at the climax of “Holla If Ya Need Me” on the bridge. He caps it off with the quintessential R&B feat of holding the last sung note, adding emotion and conviction to the song.
4. “I Invented Sex” feat. Drake
It’s evident that Songz and Drake make an undeniable duo as they have numerous hit records together. On “I Invented Sex,” he passes the perfect assist for Drake to make a slam dunk with one of his early rap features. When bragging about such lewd skills, Songz is more than willing to match the talk with the actions.
3. “Scratchin’ Me Up”
If you hadn’t already listened to the Anticipation mixtape before this album, “Scratchin Me Up” is a nice little sample of that project’s energy. Featured on the deluxe edition of Ready, this dramatically crafted song is an example of Songz’s ability to go out of his usual box. Layered with horns and synths, we get an edgier side to Mr. Steal Your Girl.
2. “Neighbors Know My Name”
Songz starts the album off with quite the performance on “Neighbors Know My Name.” With a booming bass to resemble someone knocking on the door, he’s aware that his actions in the bedroom are disturbing the homes around him. He truly showcases his vocals between the second verse and bridge, exhibiting his elastic range.
1. “Panty Dropper (Intro)”
The opening song of an album is the most important because it can set the tone for the entire project. From the first few seconds, we know we’re getting into a sexy and provocative piece of work. Fans loved the intro so much that Songz made a full version of the song, which is available on the iTunes version of his following album, Passion, Pain & Pleasure.
Revisit Ready by Trey Songz below.