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Sound Off – Ne-Yo: Year of the Gentleman

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on October 14, 2008


The latest albums making noise

Earlier this year, Ne-Yo told That’s My Jam, “If somebody’s looking for a straight urban record, [Year of the Gentleman] might go over your head a little bit.” That’s definitely true of “Closer,” the album’s surprising lead single that’s inspired by European dance music. The song embraces elements of house and trance yet, perhaps due to Ne-Yo’s previous R&B-influenced work, easily found a spot in the rotation of urban radio stations.

Hot on its heels is the one-two punch of “Miss Independent” and “Single.” The first is infectious, full of pop sensibilities and rumored to have been inspired by Ne-Yo’s mother. The second, which also appears as a duet with New Kids on the Block on their latest album, appropriately features the crooner handling the song solo as he reassures his dancing partner “I’ll be your boyfriend ’til this song goes off.”

The lyrics on “Back to What You Know” are blunt as Ne-Yo tells his ladylove, who is convinced that the grass was greener, to go back to her ex over a stomping guitar strum. Softer in rhythm, but equally declarative, is “So You Can Cry.” On the flipside, Ne-Yo himself questions “Why Does She Stay” when he admittedly isn’t contributing to the household chores or appreciating the affections of his woman.

While most of the tracks on this disc are built on an R&B foundation, those who enjoy the eclectic side of the genre (or those looking for an entry point into it) will appreciate Year of the Gentleman. There’s plenty of pop-ready cuts, power ballads and, of course, the dance floor-filler “Closer.” The diversity presented creates an engaging album that offers enough variety to be a sing-along album rather than one that’s relegated to background music.

Track List:
1. “Closer”
2. “Nobody”
3. “Single”
4. “Mad”
5. “Miss Independent”
6. “Why Does She Stay”
7. “Fade Into the Background”
8. “So You Can Cry”
9. “Part of the List”
10. “Back to What You Know”
11. “Lie to Me”
12. “Stop This World”

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