Cee Lo Green is the best soul singer of our generation, hands down. And the wildest part is, he’s not even trying to be.
I’ve been a fan of Cee Lo ever since I heard him on Outkast’s “Git Up, Git Out”. The way he set it off with “I don’t recall, ever graduating at all, sometimes I feel I’m just a disappointment to ya’ll” summed up in two bars the way most black men feel everyday of their lives. His group Goodie Mob was the new wave Public Enemy, opening up minds that had since tuned out Chuck D’s political pleas for our people. Even though the other group members Big Gipp, T Month and Khujo were dope in their own right, I always felt like Cee Lo was the star of the crew. Even after he left Goodie Mob, his solo albums “Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections” and “Cee Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine” have been nothing short of stellar works of music. But it was his collabo with Danger Mouse to form Gnarls Barkley that really got his name known outside hip hop circles with their hit “Crazy” from their platinum selling album “St. Elsewhere”. So what can we expect from Cee Lo on his latest solo release “The Lady Killer”? Nuthin but more soulful, funky and feel good music.
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“Bright Lights, Bigger City” sets the album off lovely with a techno feel and a bassline that has you thinking Billie Jean thoughts while Cee Lo sings about “looking for some action” over strings that’s reminiscent of a Love Unlimited Orchestra arrangement from the 70’s. “Bodies” is a Salaam Remi (who’s slowly becoming one of my fav producers) produced banger that I zone out to every time I hear it. “Laureen Bennett of the Paradiso Girl checks in for “Love Gun” and “Fool For You” featuring Philip Bailey is just flat out sick. “It’s Ok” has such an old school vibe to it, you’ll be able to close your eyes and see Preach and Cochise chillin’ in Martha’s shooting dice and “Old Fashioned” sounds like a lost Sam Cooke gem. “No One’s Gonna Love You” brings you back to present day and gives Cee Lo the sounding board to express his feeling with lines like “it’s looking like a limb torn off, we’re all together, just taken apart”. And do I even have to tell ya’ll about “F-ck You”?
Production wise, you’ve got The Smeezingtons, Salaam Remi, Fraer T. Smith, Jack Splash, Element, Alan Nglish, Grey Area and Paul Epworth all checking in with their individual pieces to help make this musical puzzle into the masterpiece it is. This album takes me back to a time when music was not only fun, but it made you feel good. I could go on and on about how good “The Lady Killer” is and Cee Lo’s talents but the moral of the story is this album is incredible. The music, the lyrics, Cee Lo’s voice…it’s damn near flawless and when things are this good, they really need no explanation.
4.5 outta 5