The Lady Killer

Cee Lo Green

Elektra, 2010

http://www.ceelogreen.com

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/05/2011

There's more to Cee-Lo Green than "Fuck You." No, really. Sure, it may appear that he is riding the success of that carnal knowledge-derived pop concoction, but the man isn't just breaking onto the scene. Gwyneth Paltrow did not delve deep into the underground music landscape to serve up a stirring rendition of "Forget You". Cee-Lo is not just that one damn song!!

There really isn't any particular reason that it should come as an annoyance to me that most people these days know Cee-Lo Green as one of the judges from The Voice, or the guy that wrote that waaaaay overplayed "Forget You" track (seriously, can he do anything else?!?) The fact that it still has legs a year after its initial release shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone considering the quality of the track buried beneath the massive media oversaturation.

There's a phenomenon in sports that rears its head every now and then, a phenomenon in which fans attempt to claim superiority over others because they have followed an unpopular team just starting to win for all the rough years. For example, if the New York Islanders were to win the Stanley Cup next year, you can mark it down that the hardcore fans would deride and mock those who started coming to the games just because they were suddenly winning. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In case the connection isn't clear, all those people who know Mr. Green because his song was on Glee would be the bandwagon fans, hopping onto an already moving train. I suppose at the core that's where the irritation comes from. Cee-Lo is a damn good artist, one who is more than just the catchy single that you've heard 1,000 times. The Lady Killer is not a one trick pony, and lest we forget, that was Cee-Lo Green blasting out of your speakers back when Gnarls Barkley delivered "Crazy."

The Lady Killer is not particularly modern sounding: the production is crisp and clean as it should be in this digital wonder age we live in. But Green seems intent on keeping things looking backward when it comes the songwriting/performances. Vocally, there's a strong strand of classic singers such as Ben E. King ("Stand By Me").  Green's range is decidedly entertaining and impressive to boot; nailing the falsetto on a moment's notice is not something that just anyone can do.

"Fuck You" gets the flack for being overplayed but as stated earlier, the song is deserving of those repeat plays. Yet there are other moments that reach similar emotional/qualitative heights. Green's plaintive wailing on "Wildflower" hits just the right notes, and he reaches just the perfect level of bombast on the synth-driven "Bright Lights Bigger City." "Love Gun" could suitably stand in as the theme to one of the '60s Bond flicks with the jazzy horn arrangements and rhythm guitar.

I will plainly admit that I am not terribly familiar with Green in anything going back past "Crazy," but I am worried this new persona he has developed is counterproductive to the artist he can and should be. While playing The Lady Killer for the first couple of spins, there came a strong sense of this man needs to do soul music, and if he does that he will crush it. You should not be picturing a guy in a huge feathered costume singing with Muppets (besides, that one's been done).

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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