Release Date: Nov 9, 2010
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rap, R&B, Soul, Pop/Rock, Neo-Soul, Southern Rap, Dirty South
Say what you want, this guy is cool, so utterly cool. This is one half of Gnarls Barkley; the Soul Machine; the man behind the voice that gave us Crazy; this is Cee Lo Green and if you haven’t seen him in a suit yet… well, suffice it to say, you should. Now I know what you’re thinking, and I was there too, once: Cee Lo Green. Really? The guy who came up with Forget You.
When an artist is armed with a voice so instantly distinguishable, so powerful, and so handsome as Cee-Lo Green’s, it’s impossible to think mainstream success would elude him forever. Given his extraordinary vocal talent, though, his success story hasn’t been as straightforward as perhaps it could be. Dropped by Arista after two critically acclaimed, if commercially modest, albums, Green floated in limbo until his haphazard collaboration with producer Danger Mouse under the moniker Gnarls Barkley.
Review Summary: Highlights galoreIt’s difficult to get a good grasp on Cee Lo’s latest, even now. First, it deserves to be mentioned that the expectations for Cee Lo’s new album were staggering. Somewhat unexpectedly, the R & B artist was met with unmatched popularity during the heat of high summer when his single “Fuck You” garnered a remarkable 5 million plays on YouTube within a mere 5 days.
Off-kilter old-school “Well, hello there/ My name is not important.” Offbeat soulster Cee Lo Green kicks off his third solo album with that obvious misnomer, narrating the words over hotel-lounge piano and an explosion of faux-James Bond strings. As a solo artist, songwriter, former Goodie Mob rapper, and frontman of chart-topping duo Gnarls Barkley, Green has actually made one hell of a name for himself. He’s responsible, at least in part, for some of the most memorable pop songs in recent radio memory, particularly the ubiquitous Gnarls Barkley smash “Crazy,” which is arguably the best pop song of the decade.
"Fuck You," the feel-joyously-spiteful hit of summer 2010, should cast a large shadow across Cee Lo Green's third proper solo album. The singer's biggest solo single to date, it's the best form of novelty hit -- a side-splitting surface supported with a durable underbelly, combining Millie Jackson-level lyrical frankness with a knockout throwback-soul production. Even without the presence of "Fuck You," The Lady Killer would remain a thoroughly engrossing album.
The disappointing thing about Cee Lo Green's first post-Gnarls Barkley solo record is the decision to use the lobotomised version of Fuck You in its tracklisting. The sweary original is carelessly dumped after the Outro while Forget You – fresh from a gang-mauling by Sunday's X Factor finalists – sits smugly at track three. The joy of the song came from the juxtaposition of those life-affirming major key piano chords with the song's bitter message to a former lover.
And so on The Lady Killer, Green takes another shape, but this time with a narrow and singular vision: absolute soul impresario. Where Green experimented with disparate sounds in the past, Killer finds him devoted entirely to a ’50s-era electro-soul thesis. For the most part. as the title suggests, his songs explore love and hurt.
The Lady Killer opens with a spoken intro (“The Lady Killer Theme”) that will momentarily excite longtime Cee Lo fans who remember the gravitas of “The Experience.” Within seconds, that excitement quickly transforms into confusion. Cee Lo whispers, "I'm often asked, 'What do I do for a living?' And I answer, 'I do what I want.'" After some more words about spontaneity and spice or some such, head-scratching quickly descends into disappointment: “But when it comes to ladies, I have a license [pause] to kill.” Cue mysterious music swell and listener sighs.Here is the curious case of Cee Lo Green. Once upon a time Cee Lo was on track to become an MC’s MC.
Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections announced the title of the former Goodie Mob MC's 2002 solo debut. Cee-Lo Green... Is the Soul Machine declared his 2004 follow-up. And if there was still any doubt that Cee-Lo loved high concepts, next came his Danger Mouse collaboration, Gnarls Barkley, and all of its costumed glory.
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Cee Lo Green’s brief sojourn at the top of the UK charts with his recent hit ‘F*ck You’ shows Britain’s love of a good Motown pastiche and more importantly, swearing. Andre 3000 may well be cursing himself for not calling ‘Hey Ya’ something more explicit. It’s also another unexpected hit for Green, finally repeating the success of Gnarls Barkley and ‘Crazy’, another song that grew in popularity through word of mouth into an unassuming monster hit.
One of those rare miracles of pop music that graces us from time to time, Cee-Lo Green’s joyous “Fuck You” hit the ground running upon its late-summer release this year with a momentum that is staggering even in this instant access, Internet-meme age. A word-of-mouth hit even with a title, chorus, and several key lyrics that cannot be aired on radio or MTV, “Fuck You” has vaulted such possibly-no-longer-existent boundaries (Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal rather astutely referred to the song as “post-censorship”, a demonstration the old media guard’s circa 2010 irrelevance) to inspire, in its brief history, a William Shatner rendition, an impending (though inevitably watered-down) Glee cover (by Gwyneth Paltrow), and perhaps the only release date bump in recent memory that wasn’t inspired by an early album leak, but rather good old fashioned demand. Even the radio edit, titled “Forget You”, though hardly a reasonable substitute for the true version, exists as part of the song’s sly subversion of what currently constitutes censor-worthy language—its cleaned-up chorus basically exists solely for listeners to belt the proper “fuck you!” lyric overtop of.
Set in a dilapidated Veterans Administration hospital, Article 99 may be the first medical melodrama that isn’t about dedicated physicians performing life-saving acts of valor. It’s about dedicated physicians not performing life- saving acts of valor: Their hands are tied by the crisis in veterans’ health care — the calamitous lack of funding, the red tape, the increasingly prevalent policy of refusing to cover conditions (such as heart problems) that aren’t directly related to military service. To function as doctors, the movie’s heroes have to become outlaws in their own hospital.
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Callaway has crafted his finest Cee-Lo long-player yet. Mike Diver 2010 When you’ve a voice as powerful as Atlanta-born Thomas Callaway’s, it’s not going to stay unheard for too long. As Cee-Lo – with or without the Green – Callaway has moulded himself into a chart-topping artist. But success has been far from immediate.
KID CUDI “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager” (Dream On/G.O.O.D. Music/Universal/Motown) Kid Cudi starts out “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager,” his second official album, calling himself “a winner.” He’s a hip-hop star traveling the “world I’m ruling,” with fame, women and drugs for the asking.
As one of Southern rap's underground kings via Atlanta Soul Food pioneers Goodie Mob, Thomas DeCarlo Callaway thumped strange fruit atop hip-hop's house of thugs. Church rang the cannon ball MC's big brass bells, and by 2002's Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, the 5-square-foot force of nature already spazzed a straighter, narrower path that dead-ended on Cee-Lo Green ... Is the Soul Machine two years later.