Ne-Yo - Year Of The Gentleman
He may not have the most powerful voice, chiseled abs or the greatest dance moves but Ne-Yo has those intangibles that put him in a class by himself.
Shaffer Chimere Smith has made a resounding impact on the R&B world in his short time on the scene. His songwriting abilities have been behind some of the biggest hits from some of the most stellar talent. Ask Beyonce, Mario and Rhianna and a host of others for proof. Not to mention that his solo outings have also made him a staple on the charts and have forced everyone to step their game up (that even means you Usher). After making his presence felt with In My Own Words and solidifying that presence on Because of You, Ne-Yo goes to turn the hat trick with his latest venture Year of the Gentleman.
It's all about content on Year Of The Gentleman. It's no secret that Ne-Yo can write a tune, but his wide range of moods are prevalent throughout the album. Whether it be his profession of love for those who can take care of their own ("Miss Independent"), inquisitions of how the lady in his life remains by his side regardless of his faults ("Why Does She Stay") or opting for fantasy instead of harsh reality ("Lie To Me"), Ne-Yo is able to capture such a wide array of emotions in twelve songs.
When brilliant songwriting and production come together, Ne-Yo excels far beyond what the rest of his peers are doing. "Fade Into The Background" is the perfect example of pure gold. With Ne-Yo lamenting about a missed opportunity with a newly married woman, the live drums and bass line provide the perfect backdrop for him to paint the scenery with his smooth vocals. Polow da Don offers up a tasty treat for Ne-Yo to work with on "Single." It further proves that Polow is an incredible producer who can own R&B and showcases Ne-Yo's ability to make a radio friendly jam. It may catch a few off guard because the song is also off the New Kids On The Block's recently released album. But it is good to hear Ne-Yo sing the songs that he's penned for other artists as they were meant to be sang such as Rihanna's "Take A Bow" and Beyonce's "Irreplacable."