He made his name delving into the female psyche on songs penned for Rihanna, Beyoncé and Mary J Blige, so it is no surprise that Ne-Yo now considers himself an expert on gentlemanliness. His third album lives up to its title: Ne-Yo stands by as the love of his life marries another man, praises career women and repeatedly castigates himself as unworthy of his heroines' attention. His flattery is suave, but his prodigious songwriting talent is even smoother.
Apart from a little more drama, a notion set with the desperate urgency of opening track "Closer," not much makes Year of the Gentleman, Ne-Yo's third album in as many years, all that different from In My Own Words or Because of You. If there are any real shake-ups in the songwriter/singer's m. o.
Feeling unfulfilled by Usher’s musical offer — via summer smash ”Love in This Club” — to have sex in the nightlife venue of your choosing? Turned off by Chris Brown’s slick come-ons? Then girl, Ne-Yo wants to be your Gentleman. On his third disc in as many years, the 28-year-old Southerner with the Michael Jackson falsetto not only wears his heart on his sleeve, he lets it bleed down his (no doubt high-thread-count) cuff. From the let’s-hear-it-for-the-girl paean ”Miss Independent” to Year of the Gentleman‘s self-deprecating ”Why Does She Stay,” he clearly worships at the Church of the Lady Superior.