The creation of Thr33 Ringz presents a new set of challenges for T-Pain: how does he produce an album that is enjoyable while featuring an auto-tune device that has been all but abused by the likes of Yeezy, Weezy, Diddy, Berg, Snoop, Grumpy and Dopy? Teddy Pain answers this question by sticking to the script, showing that it takes true ability to make a great song. Though T-Pain’s fanbase has grown increasingly annoyed by the auto-tune/vocoder sound, the modern day Roger Troutman is undeterred in his resolve to flood the radio waves with his array of hits. Thr33 Ringz is nothing short of a never-ending maelstrom of catchy songs that make for an all-around fun listen.
T-Pain acts as a true ring leader, guiding the listener through songs with artists he’s teamed up with for blockbuster hits over the past year. Instead of simply rehashing old songs, Pain keeps it fresh by maintaining a varied sound. “Chopped and Screwed,” and “Can’t Believe It” utilize a slower, harmonized tempo from T-Pain that is just as intoxicating as his high-octane offerings “Freeze” and “Blowing Up” with Chris Brown and Ciara respectively. By the time “It Ain’t Me” and “Therapy” roll around, though, the song and dance gets a little tiring as the use of essentially the same double-timed snares start to blend together.
After the first ten exhilarating tracks are over, the album makes a few awkward missteps. “Long Lap Dance” lacks the sexy time mood-setting quality that slow T-Pain songs have delivered in the past while “Reality Show” is the equivalent of an ill-conceived R&B posse cut that never hits its stride.
Things finally get back on track with the emotionally driven “Keep Going” which demonstrates a true ability to construct deeper songs that would go a long way to substantiating T-Pain as more than a hit-making machine. And speaking of untapped potential, “Karaoke” shows that Tallahassee’s finest can spit with the best of them as he tosses his own bit of ether to a few of the autotune-biters while giving proper respects to Roger Troutman. This is T-Pain’s rap coming out party as he flips hot lines like “grab ya microphone, set ya autotune/and I’m a bust a verse on yo’ ass like I oughta do.”
At 17 songs deep, Thr33 Ringz is a tad bit long with a healthy dose of filler to make straightforward listening a little tedious. But T-Pain’s hit-making ability in the face of an over-saturated market is undeniable. One would be hard-pressed not to find at least a handful of infectious songs by the end of the album.