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Year Of A Gentleman
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Avec son 3ème album, "Year Of The Gentleman", cet auteur-compositeur hors pair natif de Las Vegas a échafaudé une redoutable suite de morceaux qui exprime à la perfection ce que NE-YO entend lorsqu'il parle de classe avec un grand "C". Cette nouvelle version inclut les vidéos bonus (« closer » & « miss independant ») alors que les 2 titres sont top 20 de la Playlist Skyrock et top 40 de l'airplay forte rotation. Écrit par NE-YO et produit par Stargate, "Closer" s'inscrit incontestablement comme une nouvelle pierre à l'édifice de la nouvelle sensation masculine de la scène R&B américaine dont les deux premiers albums, certifiés platine, se sont chacun vendus par millions de par le monde !
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Ne-Yo was singing the blues about not being with the woman that he still loves and the midtempo track was in heavy rotation on the radio stations.
Ne-Yo released his debut CD, In My Own Words, in 2006.
My favorite tracks ended up being "Let Me Get This Right", "Get Down Like That", "Mirror", "Time" and "Let Go".
Ne-Yo released Because Of You a year later. The title track gave the CD alot of attention and the midtempo jam "Do You" didn't hurt things either. I also liked the alternate version of "Do You" that featured Mary J. Blige. My other favorites from the CD included "Can We Chill", "Say It", "Angel" and "Crazy" w/Jay-Z.
I saw Ne-Yo in concert earlier this year with Alicia Keys and Jordin
Sparks. I was anxious to see whether or not he would perform any songs from his upcoming album. He began the concert with "Closer" but I was disappointed that he didn't atleast give us a preview of what to expect.
After listening to this CD, I understand why he kept us in suspense and I am definitely satisfied with the final product. The 1st single "Closer" is unlike any song that Ne-Yo has made so far in his career. The track has tremendous energy and it comes across as an urban house song that you will be doing any kind of 2 step to even 20 years from now. He slows things down with the 2nd single "Miss Independent". Ne-Yo dedicates this track to the ladies that are out there doing their thing on their own. Whether, it's raising children, being the boss of their own firm or paying their bills on time, Ne-Yo dedicates this song to the independent ladies that are making something out of their lives. If you purchased the CD from Itunes there is a remix of "Miss Independent" entitled "She Got Her Own" w/Jamie Foxx & Fabolous. Most people will like the original track better but the remix isn't that bad at all. "Nobody" is a nice uptempo jam for the clubs. The track has Mijac (Michael Jackson) written all over it but it also has hit written all over it as well. Ne-Yo talks about how a particular woman is shutting the club down with her style, dancing skills and overall looks. I am not sure why Ne-Yo decided to put a track that he wrote for New Kids On The Block's new CD on here. However, "Single" clearly works and any female that's ever been put in that situation will definitely be able to relate to Ne-Yo's lyrics on this track. Once you hear "Mad" you will be able to understand why Ne-Yo's songwriting is in so much demand. He is able to break down things that happen in relationships in general and I am pretty sure that he has experienced some of the things that he is writing about as well. "Why Does She Stay?" has Ne-Yo acknowledging his faults and what he does wrong in the relationship and at the same time he is asking why does his woman choose to stay with him despite these faults. He gives her credit for putting up with his antics and he even realizes that he doesn't deserve to be with her. "Fade Into The Background" has Ne-Yo describing a situation at the club where he is eyeing a particular young lady. By the time he has to nerve to try to approach her, he realizes that someone beat him to it or that she is there with someone else. I think that has happened to every man atleast once in their life. "So You Can Cry" is a stellar midtempo jam that has Ne-Yo describing a situation where a woman is feeling depressed about a failed relationship and Ne-Yo is trying to do anything possible to be there for her during this difficult time. Ne-Yo has a nice touch of thoughtfulness on this project and it just makes him a better songwriter. "Back To What You Know" has Ne-Yo telling the lady that he is involved with that he can tell that she is not 100% commited to their relationship. He is letting her know that if your heart is still with your ex, then that is where you need to be instead of wasting their time in this relationship. Can the church say Amen to that one? This is another stellar midtempo jam on "Year Of The Gentleman". "Lie To Me" sounds like a track that Michael Jackson turned down and Ne-Yo decided to use for himself. On the 2nd verse, I thought I was going to hear a "Chum On" that Mijac is famous for singing in his songs. Ne-Yo is eerily trying to channel Michael on the 2nd verse. This song isn't bad but it could have been better. Things end on a great note with "Stop The World". The song will have you thankful that you are able to find someone special to spend the rest of your life with like I have. "Part Of The List" isn't bad but it sounds like Ne-Yo was trying to hard on certain parts of this track.
Overall, I feel Ne-Yo has created one of the best r&b releases of the year with "Year Of The Gentleman". This is clearly the best CD that Ne-Yo has ever written and the majority of the tracks demonstrate his writing talent. If you enjoyed "In My Own Words" or "Because Of You", then you can't afford to pass up on "Year Of The Gentleman".
James' Top 5
2) Miss Independent
3) Stop This World
4) So You Can Cry
5) Fade Into The Background
Why Does She Stay?
Back To What You Know
Ne-Yo has to undoubtly be one of the best songwriters in the business. This has been under no question for years as he has wrote songs/hits for numerous stars. He shows that fully in my view on this album as he gets more into what makes a woman sexy other than using her body, what a woman can be feeling at times and tending to that, and issues that may come up in a relationship. You really didn't get the sex, bump-n-grind verses that may have come in Ne-Yo's music in the past and that you really hear a lot of in R&B today. I mean there is nothing wrong with music laced with sex and club-banging music, but it can wear out very easily if done too much. He displays that in several songs on here, if not the entire album. His way of speaking kept it very classy, much as the gentleman he tries to portray. The production and the beats are different as well. There were different instruments and methods used all over the CD to give it a different feel. Some songs used the classical piano while you could hear sort of a Spanish guitar being used in a song like Part of the List. Then you would get an acoustic guitar in Back To What You Know while you would get finger-snapping to help the song in a couple tracks. If you listen closely, you will notice all of this and make you realize that the sound that Ne-Yo utilizes on the CD is not often gone to in the urban area and will make you realize that he did try something out of the ordinary.
Year of the Gentleman has great tracks sprinkled out all over it and while you can listen to the whole product without maybe skipping over a one, I will just give you a few songs to lookout for. Closer is probably the only club track on the album and it starts it off. This one has been heard for months so I really won't get into it. Nobody follows it up with its Michael Jackson-influenced sound matched up with some horns, glass-tapping and upbeat drums streaming out of your speakers nicely as Ne-Yo references a woman who is matched by nobody in confidence and sex appeal. Mad goes into him and his girl being mad at each other for no real reason wasting energy and to make up & get beyond it all as this track gives you a softer sound that is keyed by the piano. I saw a couple of reviews that kind of were disappointed in it, but I really liked it. (Guess I can relate cause I just had a similar situation.) It may not be for everyone, but I think the majority of you will give it a thumbs up. Miss Independent is a tight song as it is elegant in its sound with an off-beat sort of mid-tempo vibe with the piano usage again and soft drum clap pattern which gets into the woman who do for themselves, hold their own & don't need help, and how sexy that is. Why Does She Stay is a ballad of sorts that is written questioning why do our women stay through all of our faults and how they put up with so much when they could go out and have someone that could be better for them. I'm kind of in the midst of this and maybe haven't gotten the full impact of this concept yet, but I do get it. If you have been in a relationship that has lasted for some time and have put in time with someone that is special to you, this song could definitely make you realize how special that person is even more. Fade Into The Background is a good concept/situation and song, but I think it could have been done better or in another way. It speaks on the one/lady that got away and having to face the reality that she has totally moved on with Ne-Yo being at the wedding, as the songs states fading into the background from the one he had. I really love the words, but the song was too laid-back for me and I think he maybe could have went deeper into the emotional bag of tricks for this one cause this should be where your heart cries out if in fact your true love has tied the knot with another man. Just my take, but it is still a good one. So You Can Cry reminds of the 60s with its finger-snapping sort of doo-wap vibe that kind of gets me like a Minnie Riperton song. Back To What You Know seems like a song you see an artist onstage performing with that acoustic guitar that I spoke of earlier in his hands and belting out this tune at the same time. It's about being a gentleman and letting a woman you're involved with go back to her ex because she is truly not over him and you really cannot win because of the memory of the prior guy. Tremendous song in my eyes! The capper of the album is Stop This World, a song dedicated to feeling so high in finding someone that you are so thankful for and at the same time can't believe she came your way and what you did to deserve it. Feeling it so much that it could stop the world from spinning. Whoever said that this would be a great wedding song, they hit it right on the head. Or maybe the song for the married couple's first dance for the reception. Either way, well written song.
I'm starting to see some artists try new things instead of staying with the same old formula that gets radioplay cause they know that fans are wanting something that they aren't hearing these days. Might not be as much as one would like, but you can see it starting into a trend. Ne-Yo with the Year of the Gentleman heads up with those artists who are looking to get back to true music and musicianship. There may have been some flaws that take a little bit away from a couple of the songs which is why I can't give the CD 5 stars. I would say 4.25 but because of going another route and trying something different I give it an extra quarter star. If you had thought of not picking up Ne-Yo's new album for whatever reason, get the thought out of your mind and go scoop it up.
Ne-Yo has explained the album title by proclaiming it as his aim to evoke memories of a different time - a time when it was imperative to walk out the front door always looking your best - to look the part of the gentleman. Most importantly, he sings as well as looks the part on the glossy album cover, whether he does it through romantic paeans such as "Why Does She Stay?" or situational pieces such as "Mad," where he refuses to go to bed with his love muffin until their argument is over and they've kissed and made up. Yes, Ne-Yo may be aiming for the title of Mister Cornball, but darn if he doesn't churn out some downright listenable stuff.
The seductive, hook-drenched "Nobody" is every bit as impressive as effervescent lead single "Closer," one of the strongest Top 10 pop hits of the year. The bouncy "Single" twists and bends with sticky-as-Christmas tree sentiments that ably blend in with the album's context, as does second single "Miss Independent." A sexy, endlessly-playable pledge of allegiance to powerful women, it is already firmly situated in the Top 40 and bound to go even further than "Closer." Stargate's buoyant, light-as-feather production touch again brings out the best in Ne-Yo's particular brand of meaty, substantial R&B.
The pace slows as the album winds down, but the quality songs keep coming with the likes of the hard-won wisdom of "Lie to Me" and the crisp, airy "Back to What You Know." The urgent, captivating "Stop This World" wraps thing up tidily.
Ne-Yo truly delivers the goods here. Solid, juicy melodies color all the tracks, as opposed to the pre-canned rhythms and handclaps that have poisoned the market as of late. In the world of mainstream music he is a creative breath of fresh air. He may not yield anything groundbreaking, but he produces quality art. Today's pop music scene desperately needs more artists like him, and if "Year of the Gentleman" is any indication he is here to stay for a while.
First single "Closer" doesn't need much of a presentation, it's one of the faster Ne-Yo songs to date with a great hook and a dance-pop sound. He sings about the obsessive attraction he gets over watching a beautiful woman. The song peaked at #1 in the UK And #8 in the US. Second song "Nobody" is Michael Jackson influenced and somewhat resembling "Can We Chill" from his last album. Another good song. I was surprised to find "Single" with NKOTB here, cause Ne-Yo normally doesn't include songs he wrote for other artists on his own albums, like "Hate That I Love You" for Rihanna but on this particular version NKOTB doesn't appear and suddenly the song is much better. "Mad" not to be mistaken for his other song "When You're Mad", is one of my favorites. Infact it's a little simular lyrically, Ne-Yo sings he doesn't want to go to bed "Mad at You". This is a brilliant midtempo. Second single "Miss Independent" with that synth beat resembling Kanye West's "Flashing Light" is also excellent and one of the more commercial songs here. You got to love the strong, hardworking independent women that know what they want. Only Ne-Yo would dare coming up with a song like this.
Next up is a song called "Why Does She Stay" a ballad. Ne-Yo sais that his girlfriend is "So Much Better Then Me" and wonders why she stays when he's both lazy and always working. "I'm So Unworth Of Her", but it's because "She's In Love". He ends the song by saying So "I take my time and do what im suppose to do/Because i just cant see my life without you". A song better for it's lyrics then for it's charisma. "Fade Into The Background" another slower/midtempo song about missing out the chance to hook up with a lady. Ne-Yo sings "I Just walked in sat down silent/ I stood outside for awhile/ Wondering why did I come here /Face it you messed up and now she's with somebody else" This is a song almost anyone can relate too, this song in particular got married with someone else. "So You Can Cry" is also lyrically excellent about a heartbreaken girl. Ne-Yo sais he wants to "Go have calamari/And maybe a drink" but if she's still sad "I'll ask the sun to shine away from you today so you can cry (if that's what you want)". "Part Of The List", he mentioned things that he miss, and his ex-girlfriend is part of that list. "Back To What You Know" is slighlty faster with guitar riffs, here Ne-Yo said that if a girl don't love him and is thinking of her ex she can go back to him instead. Proposed third single "Lie To Me", is simular to the previous song while the closer "Stop This World" unusual for a Ne-Yo song with majestic "We Are The World" arrangements, but it's another love song about being in love. "And I see Heaven when she looks at me/
In her smile is the most amazing dream/ And in her eyes I fall asleep/ And I hope, Hope that she can see through the smoke
Of my imperfections into my soul/ And my heart where she has control". Beautiful.
Overall, another good Ne-Yo album, nuff said. If you liked his previous stuff you're gonna love this one too. It seem like the first 5 songs are more commercial and the rest are deeper love songs where the lyrics are in focus. So, basically there is something for everyone here. I needed about 2-3 listens to get into the songs but when I did I absolutely love them. Ne-Yo did it again, and so far this is the best R&B album of the year. Recommended.