The industry didn't treat T-Pain too well after his third album. Around the time that he put out "Thr33 Ringz", they had all changed their mind on auto-tuning (which was the core element of his music). With the likes of Kanye West and Lil Wayne championing the sound by this point - subsequently making nearly everyone in the Rap world to follow suit - it got to the point where people decided that they wanted proper singing back. Jay-Z dropping "D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)" was the final nail in the coffin and would prevent the Florida singer/rapper to get his feet off the ground with any new music. A series of failed singles led him into his fourth album (by which time, people had forgot all about the auto-tune epidemic) but he would rebound in a slightly adapted style, when he returned with "5 O'Clock". With a stable leading tune, 2011 saw the release of his fourth album offering, "rEVOLVEr".
Starting from the singles and the tunes which were announced before the album dropped, you couldn't fault the artist. As a singer, rapper and producer, he's very difficult to beat. He proves that as he improves on "5 O'Clock" (with Lil Allen and Wiz Khalifa) with infectious tunes like "Bang Bang Pow Pow" (which features Lil Wayne) and "Best Love Song" (with Chris Brown giving a little help on it). For that reason long-term fans of his will be satisfied. He continues in pretty decent form with more tunes like "Bottlez" and "Mix'd Girl", both of which keep the clubs happy. On the other hand, the slower tunes continue to improve, as seen on "Rock Bottom". In spite of this, it still feels as though he's not in his best form.
With quite a lot going to plan, it's unfortunate that it doesn't reach into every crevice of the album. Songs like "It's Not You" show that he feels threatened by his immediate competition to do Euro-House too. However, it came at completely the wrong time. Unless it was used as a single, he has no business wasting time on the album with collabs with Pitbull and Chuckie. Linked to this, he tries to mature a little too early into the more traditional ballad style on "Drowning Again", but the auto-tuning spoils his plans at impressing the audience. When much of the album just feel 'okay' at best, it doesn't do much to help his chances of regaining his once-reigning status over club R&B.
To summarise, while T-Pain does a good job to show that he's advanced and is able to work quite well in a number of other styles (other than the main strains which he's known for) he doesn't do it all that well here. Admittedly, a lot of his progression came through on the "Thr33 Ringz" album, but it just didn't receive the same levels of attention for people to take notice. Even saying that, "rEVOLVEr" is almost as if he's playing catch-up to an industry which he was actually ahead of not too long ago. It's a shame, as there is some promise on the album, but it doesn't nearly compare to any of his past ones. No matter how many times you listen back, this is nothing but a mediocre T-Pain record.