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It ain’t easy being Green

By Alex Norris

Section: Arts

November 19, 2010

To many, his name is not important. The important thing about Cee Lo Green is his production of “F*ck You,” the single that swept college campuses and other repositories for dirty language earlier this fall. Besides killing radio for me forever (“Forget you?” For real?), the single also generated some substantial interest in the upcoming album offering by Green. The album, which was moved up to Nov. 9 to take advantage of this early spurt of publicity, is called “The Lady Killer.” For me, the flippancy, the fun and the sheer dance-ability of “F*ck You” were enough to justify picking up a copy of “The Lady Killer.” In the following paragraphs, I hope to give you an idea of what I found within.

Many of you are no doubt asking: What does Cee Lo do in this album? I answer: he does what he wants. From the hilariously bad-ass introduction to the expansive rhythms of “Bright Lights Bigger City” to the angry and abrupt “Love Gun” to the upbeat “It’s OK,” Green delivers a diverse album full of a sound that takes the retro feeling of his single to a new level. The use of back-up singers in most of the songs makes the whole album seem to take you back to a kinder, simpler time when someone could walk down the street singing and people would jump out and sing along. This is what I assume the past was like.

This album has soul and ,judging from the content, it’s a soul in serious danger of eternal damnation. “Bodies,” for example, is the second track I’ve heard from Cee Lo to reference necrophilia (the first being “Necromancer” by Gnarls Barkley). I love the man’s music but I probably would not let him near my loved ones. Green’s spontaneity spices up the album, and he indulges himself—and us—quite a bit. With collaborations with Lauren Bennett and Phillip Bailey and a whole host of musicians to back him up in his endeavors, Cee Lo really makes the album an extension of the persona of “The Lady Killer,” which he has created for himself.

Despite this creativity, Green does not appear to consider himself above the rules in making his music. I certainly wouldn’t characterize the album as lawless. The tracks flow together nicely, with a good distribution of the most fun songs to dance to (in my opinion, you’ll find those on tracks two, three, seven and eleven) and the vast majority of the album’s songs can be at least grooved to (to groove to a song is here defined at minimum as rhythmic head and neck movement). For those songs that are less upbeat, they have enough going on that you don’t find yourself waiting for them to end, which is what I look for most in a song. At 14 tracks, the album is too long before you want it to be, and I find myself immediately starting it back at the beginning. What else would I listen to?

I was a fan of Green’s when he was part of Gnarls Barkley and I like this solo venture as well. Cee Lo Green creates an album which is at turns optimistic, soulful, creepy and absurdly fun. When it comes to me (and, no doubt, to the ladies), he has a license to kill.

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