Marques Houston, Chris Brown, Trey Songz | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Marques Houston, Chris Brown, Trey Songz 

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"Sex with you is like . . . damn, I don't really know what it's like," goes the spoken intro to "Sex Wit You," the third single off MARQUES HOUSTON's Naked (Universal). He's not at a loss for words for long, though. "Sex with you is really the best with you / It makes life worth going through," he sings, and then in short order compares a trip to the boneyard with his special lady to driving a new car, getting out of jail, cashing a check, and even breakfast like his mom used to make. Most of the rest of the album is about humping too--the single kind, the married kind, the cheating kind--and it features the best male songasms since Avant's "Read Your Mind." Naked is also pretty consistent musically, reflecting Houston's status as a time-tested slow-jam/do-me crooner--he was the lead singer of Immature for most of the 90s, and he's written and produced for Destiny's Child and B2K. He's also an older half brother to former B2K member Omarion, one of the headliners on this "Holladay Jam" package tour--alongside Ciara, the First Lady of Crunk & B, who's spent much of the year denying a widespread rumor that she's a male-to-female transsexual.

Warming up for Houston is CHRIS BROWN, a 16-year-old Usher soundalike with a decent single, "Run It!," which is distinguished from pure creamery butter only by an appearance from Dipset's Juelz Santana. Also opening is 21-year-old TREY SONGZ, who sounds like a melisma-prone R. Kelly--which, perhaps unsurprisingly, has made him a hot balladeer. In the past year or so he's made cameos on tracks by Trick Daddy, Bun B, and Jim Jones, but you probably know him best as the guy who goes "ooh" on Twista's "Girl Tonite."

The full lineup, headliners first, is Bow Wow, Omarion, Ciara, Marques Houston, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and Dem Franchize Boyz. Thu 12/22, 7 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212, $39.50-$49.50. All ages.

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