Ne-Yo – R.E.D.

Off the top I’d just like to say that this guy, no matter what you think of his music, is smooth as silk. This smoothness is a constant no matter what musical genre he is tackling on R.E.D., his fifth studio album. Ne-Yo tries his hand at pop, R&B, hip hop, dance, and even a country ballad on the album to varying degrees of success. Some songs sound like his heart and soul are in them others feel more like he is throwing all the tricks in his bag against the wall to test out what will stick. In other words, some of this seems forced. There is nothing wrong with an artist evolving or searching for a musical voice. This is not what is going on here.  It feels and sounds more like he is trying to tap into as many different musical markets (with album sales being the end) as he possibly can. As much as I enjoyed the opening track “Cracks in Mr. Perfect” in which he lists his litany of shortcomings even that didn’t feel genuine to me. He has that “I’m better than the rest of you without really trying” feel about him. My two favourites on the album are when he is being Ne-Yo, pure and simple, “Let’s Go” with DJ du jour Calvin Harris and the Top 10 single “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)”. Sometimes it is better to stick with what you are best at.

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