Tank | Now Or Never [Review]

Dec 20, 2010

Those not deeply familiar with Tank and his musical career (such as myself) will probably recognize him from the more notable songs in catalog such as “Maybe I Deserve” and “Please Don’t Go”. As a veteran in the R&B/Soul genre, Tank has been putting in work for quite some time as evident from his past contributions to artists like Ginuwine, Missy Elliott, Jamie Foxx, Marques Houston, Omarion, Monica, and Donell Jones in the areas of background singing, music production, and songwriting. Most recently finding a new home on the roster of Atlantic Records, Tank’s first offering on his new label comes in the form of his forth studio album Now Or Never. Three year since the release of his previous album Sex, Love & Pain, which debuted #2 on the Billboard 200 along with garnering Grammy nominations for “Best R&B Album” and “Best R&B Male Vocal Performance” (“Please Don’t Go”). Let’s find out how Now Or Never fares as the follow-up.

1. Showtime (Interlude)
Produced by Song Dynasty
From the start we’re introduced to the album with some smooth production that allows Tank to musically put listeners in the mood for the remainder of the album. Even though it’s just an interlude, the track does a nice job of giving listeners a preview or taste of what they can expect to hear in the remaining tracks both musically and lyrically. I’m not sure why Tank decided to make this track an interlude as it’s good enough to stand strongly as an full song and would have done nicely extended.

2. Sex Music
Produced by Song Dynasty & Harvey Mason, Jr.
After a nice introduction we get right into things with the album’s first single appropriately titled “Sex Music”. Immediately from presence of Auto-Tune and club suited production you can tell this song was made with the intent to compete with the likes of Jamie Foxx and Trey Songz on the charts. Unfortunately this song fall a bit flat in that attempt as it comes off sounding cliché and generic for an artist of Tank’s caliber and past. The reasons that this song has been done before and in that regard done better is why it ultimately doesn’t work for Tank.

3. Celebration
Featuring Drake; Produced by Stereotypes
Off the previous song’s forced attempt at the chart, this song fares better to possibly achieve the results sought by “Sex Music”. Keeping with the trend of the “obligatory Drake album feature”, Tank enlists Drizzy for a guest verse that’s sure to get young ladies and younger listeners to at least give this song a chance (if only for Drake’s verse). Backed by some lush production from the Stereotypes, Tank proceeds enjoy a good time in celebrating with his lady. While Drake’s verse won’t go down as one of his most memorable, it does its job in being a suitable addition to the track. If this track isn’t planned as a future single for Now Or Never, it should be as it has the necessary elements to succeed on the charts.

4. Emergency (Intro)
Produced by Song Dynasty
Pretty much just a musical prelude to the next track, which could have been included as one track. Let’s keep moving…

5. Emergency
Produced by Song Dynasty
Following “Sex Music” this stands as the second single for the album, which takes a completely different approach as a slow jam. In fitting fashion with the song’s title, the subject matter centers on Tank rushing to the aide of a woman in need of being rescued by him before another man reaches her. The “emergency” concept is a clever one that puts a spin on an otherwise common topic in R&B/Soul music. It’s easy to see why this song was selected as one of the album’s singles given the strength of the song’s lyrics and production value.

6. Scream
Produced by Jim Jonsin & Rico Love
Well if you couldn’t tell by the song’s title, this track is centered on the topic of screaming and the many ways it’s found in relationships. Examples of screaming during the bad times (being fed up, leaving, etc.) are mentioned but Tank takes a focus on the screaming during the good times (making love). Ultimately this song leaves much to be desired for after a complete listen. The piano-driven production provides a nice background for Tank’s lyrics, but the effort comes up average along with The-Dream falsetto heard in the chorus that misses the mark.

7. Keep It 100
Produced by Song Dynasty
The topic” truthfulness” (aka “Keeping it 100”) is address by Tank on this track that finds him in the situation of revealing secrets to his woman after years of keeping them covered with lies to avoid losing her. More than any of the previous tracks, this is one whose subject matter is probably the most relatable to listeners that might have faced similar issues in their own relationships. This is a nicely done track that ends up being an enjoyable listen.

8. Foreplay
Featuring Chris Brown; Produced by Kevin Barnes & Chris Brown
As the only other featured guest to be found on Now Or Never, Tank recruits the services of Chris Brown to assist him on another track that keeps in the trend of slow jams heard on the previous few songs. Over some appropriate production Tank and Chris trade lines about the obvious topic of foreplay with their ladies. Now while this isn’t uncommon territory for Tank it is quite odd to hear Chris Brown singing over this type of track given the history of his music career. It does help some with him making the transition to more mature music for a mature audience.

9. Can I (Intro)
Produced by Song Dynasty
Here we have another prelude similar to the one heard earlier with “Emergency” and like that one it could have been included as one track instead of two separate entries. Moving along…

10. Can I
Produced by Song Dynasty
Supported by some nice production supplied by Song Dynasty (which includes Tank), Tank keeps the bedroom talk going with cut aimed towards the ladies to inevitably get them in that mood. Nothing to complex about the lyrics and subject matter heard on this track, plain and simple Tank just wants to know if he can make love to you (ladies that is). Similar to “Keep It 100”, this is another song on the album that makes for an enjoyable listen.

11. Amazing
Produced by Aaron Sledge & Brandon Hodge
Keeping on pace with the theme of slower paced cuts, “Amazing” smoothly transitions from the previous track as another bedroom ready song that would fit well in any bedroom-themed playlist. This track sees Tank dedicating a song to his special lady using the words “amazing”, “incredible”, and “outstanding” to describe exactly what she means to him.

12. You Mean That Much
Produced by Song Dynasty & Harvey Mason, Jr.
Similar to the previous track, Tank utilizes “You Mean That Much” to recount his feelings for his lady in speaking about how much she means to him and his life. This piano-driven ballad fits nicely following the previous couple tracks that had a similar feel to them.

13. I Can’t Make You Love Me
Produced by Michael Barry Reid & James Allen Shamlin
This stands as one of, if not the best track, on the album as Tank channels great emotion and feelings in covering Bonnie Raitt’s powerful song. Already standing as a great song on its own, Tank doesn’t disappoint in making it even more emotional and soulful than it already was. In some ways the song reminds me of Tank’s contribution in “If You Dream” to the More Than A Game soundtrack last year. This is one that I could see as an effective single or even featured in a Tyler Perry movie for the strength of its lyrics and effectiveness in emotions.

Bottom Line:
After a relatively concise album consisting of only 13 tracks, the final verdict on Now Or Never comes in as a positive one. Overall it’s an enjoyable album that has it share of songs to fit listeners’ specific moods from the club to the bedroom. There are plenty of strong tracks to be found such as “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, “Can I”, and “Emergency” that are effective in showcasing Tank’s talent as a singer and songwriter especially in his niche of bedroom joints. Opposite that there are numerous weaker tracks like “Sex Music”, “Scream”, and “Foreplay” that are a disservice to Tank. These attempts sound forced to fit with the current sound and style of R&B/Soul music and peculiar given the sound his past songs and albums. Listening to Now Or Never in its entirety, the album can be broken down into two halves with the later half (#9-#13) being stronger than the first half (#1-#8). One thing that irked me while listening to the album is Tank’s similarity in vocal tone and style to Jamie Foxx’s where it becomes blurry as to whether you listening to a Tank or Jamie Foxx album. If they were to collaborate on a song together I would have a difficult time identifying their parts separately. Some of the later tracks are so similar in sound it can feel as if they’re all one song but it’s not a big deal. A bit of refinement in song selection and subject matter (be Tank, not Trey Songz, The-Dream, or Jamie Foxx) would have made Now Or Never a stronger album for Tank.

Soulections: “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, “Emergency”, “Can I”, “Amazing”, “You Mean That Much”, “Celebration”, “Showtime (Interlude)”

Listen: Tank – “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
[audio:http://soulections.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/13-tank-i_cant_make_you_love_me.mp3|titles=13-tank-i_cant_make_you_love_me]

SBK

8 Comments

  1. Pingback:The Numbers Game: Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Dirty Money, Tank, Ciara, & Sheek : nappyafro.com

  2. saule wright says:

    I completely agree about him sounding a lot like Foxx. On Keyshia Cole’s album, I just KNEW that was Foxx singing….but it’s Tank. It wasn’t until Foxx said that Tank helped him with backgrounds on his album that I started listening to Tank. Funny thing, is Tank is really an example of what happens when good artists don’t have the promotion other artists do. Foxx makes good music, but even as a major Foxx fan, I think Tank normally makes better albums than Foxx. This last round is kind of disappointing from both of them…they should have put the best songs together and cut one album.

  3. Lovely says:

    Actually Jamie Sounds like Tank. Do the homework. Tank wrote all of Jamie’s hits and Jamie changed his singing style to sound like Tank

    • saule wright says:

      Eh, I don’t know, not saying I disagree with you vehemently or anything like that, but even on Peep This, Foxx’s last 3 songs were spectacular and he didn’t sound much different than he does now. I agree, Tank has helped Foxx’s writing and probably even influenced his style/harmonies. But as they say in Comedy, the one who gets success with the joke first, is the one who owns it. Foxx has platinum albums, Tank has only gone Gold once.

      • JMarguerite says:

        Yes, Jamie is platinum, and Tank is only gold because 1. Jamie already had his own following before he put the music out. 2. He probably has a totally better production team than Tank does. As far as their voices go, they do sound alike, but if you really listen, Tank has a deeper tone of voice than Jamie Foxx does. I love them both, have been a Tank fan since his first album. I’m a Jamie fan as well. I just feel like Tank sings with more passion than Jamie does. Jamie has so many other outlets, movies, shows, comedy. So I don’t think he has the same passion in his voice that Tank does, because Tank just has music. Imagine Tank singing “Fall for your type.” You would have felt more passion, although Jamie gave did a good job with the song!

        • saule wright says:

          Valid, very valid about Foxx having more outlets, so that does explain the Plat. I’m jus saying that maybe Tank needs to keep some of his “hits” instead of helping/lending them to Foxx. However, this last round of albums, they both needed help.

          • JMarguerite says:

            So true about this last round of albums. I personally feel that Jamie’s album was worse than Tank’s! They both just need to pack it up, and rethink it. Yea, he may need to keep his “hits” if he really wants to establish himself as a platinum artist, but if he is making more money giving those hits away, I say hey…go for it!! A lot of writers are becoming artists, thinking it will make them more money, not realizing that our economy sucks and people aren’t buying music like they used to…

  4. Dibbs says:

    Some people think I sound like Jaime Foxx and Tank. I’m definitely tryna get away from that for the simple fact that they are two GREAT artists and i dont wanna crowd that market. I do want some of the market share tho. if that makes any sense. I think either of them would do well on this song i wrote called “The Machine”. Its up on my soundcloud page if anyone wants to hear it.
    http://www.soundcloud.com/yodibbs

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