Channeling the king of pop on 'Libra Scale' R&B's royalty checks his 'Thrillerscope'.
Who's the king of R&B right now? Well Mr. Raymond sure has ushered in a good year of hits but during his absence singer/songwriter Ne-Yo rose from the ranks of prince on his quest for the throne. Now the star who has channeled everyone from Usher to Prince looks to claim his place once again. With 'Libra Scale' the 'So Sick' talent looks to the king of pop for inspiration on this new crossover LP.
The concept album revolves around a story of three garbage men who look at the 'Libra Scale' and their morals as they dance around the themes of money, fame, power and love. This idea and album is anything but trash. Ne-Yo also uses his inspirations of science fiction, comic books and Japanese animation to influence this out of this world, culture crossing, heroes and villains piece.
This new compilation serves almost as a score as Ne-yo writes a story with these ten tracks. Although there is now no movie to go with the album the CD's story revolves around two characters, Jerome and Pretti Sinclair. Ne-Yo's idol Michael Jackson heavily inspired this project. Not only Michael's music but his movie accompaniments, 'Moonwalker', 'Thriller' and 'Bad'.
The inspiration sparks off a great set that was made for the dance floor as much as the singers silver screen. The single 'Beautiful Monster' is thrilling, 'Champagne Life' is anything but bad and 'One In A Million' is as fresh and pure as a perfect moonlight, night with the only one that matters. Meanwhile the other album tracks 'Cause I Said So' and 'What Have I Done' sound like M.J.'s early upbeat and slow tempo ballad's respectively.
This album may feel a little short at 10 tracks for the usually prolific artist, however it's concise just like it's meant to be. Sure Ne-Yo's last three albums have spurred a wide range of versatile tracks ranging from brooding to banging whilst this piece fits a more general theme. Still however this is the point. Plus with a perfect set of songs this point is well taken. On 'Know Your Name' the singer gets real familiar, and on 'Telekinesis' R&B's matrix sees it all.
On 'Crazy love' Fabolous and Ne-Yo are back for the third time and after 'Make Me Better' and 'Making Love' off Loso's albums the pair continue their great chemistry on Ne-Yo's latest science project. Returning the favour Fabolous is sharp as ever with the punchlines, rapping, "Outfit look crazy on her you my Lady Gaga/But you wanna start at first and get the last word/You wanna lock me down and get the password". Whereas the 'Irreplaceable' songwriter Ne-Yo proves he's still on top of his game and the game with real lines like, "We may struggle/We may even very well see hell from the gates /Don't think that you are alright /Are above making mistakes", on the track 'Genuine Only'.
The track 'Making A Movie' is the perfect cut to start this best picture off. This dance orientated album is clearly inspired by the 'baddest' of all time but Ne-Yo's extended studio time with European powerhouse DJ David Guetta also rubs off onto the wax. The single 'Beautiful Monster' is a club ready tune on an otherwise smooth album of slow jams built for the slow dance. Still however Ne-Yo's fans wont mind. This album's got something for everyone. You'll be clicking your fingers and clicking your heels as this music will leave you asking someone to dance. You better tip your hat because this really is the 'Year Of The Gentleman'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.