The-Dream has always been more of a musician than a video artist. The visual treatments made to accompany his biggest solo singles almost always fall flat with their prominent use of R&B cliché. He loves his overstyled backup dancers, shots of flossy vehicles, token lady friends, fitted caps, and other expected post-Hype Williams hip-hop elements. So leave it to The-Dream to usher in the fall weather with a chilly breakup anthem, “Long Gone”—but don’t expect him to offer you much more than a dull black-and-white video, released today on his website, to accompany it.
Many who feel Terius Nash’s sound relies too heavily upon repetitive signatures (heavy swirling synths, snap-and-bop, and the catchiness of Tourette’s-like ‘eys), should reconsider by watching his banal visuals. It’s there that he lacks innovation and technique—not in his sound. Where his music develops track-by-track into something of a cohesive hip-hopera, his videos come off as little more than promotional advertisements playing at your local Sephora or Finish Line.
The interesting thing, however, is that Dream just doesn’t care. He doesn’t give much attention to his videos, perhaps because he feels no need. The only trouble with that is if he’s feeling the pressure from Frank Ocean and The Weeknd’s similar sound (which he slyly brushes off on 1977‘s “Form of Flattery”), he needs to start caring about what the world ultimately sees. Ocean’s videos appeal to the hipster crowd, even if they are low-budget, with their aesthetic edge and oddity. Perhaps this new R&B generation—which Dream considers “his sons”—can point Daddy in the right visual direction. We so badly want them to look as vivid as they sound!