After getting admittedly “too cool for the room” with 2010’s experimental “Libra Scale,” it’s nice to hear Ne-Yo return to his core of melodic R&B on his fifth studio album “R.E.D.” — not to mention build on his ever-expanding dance-pop footprint on the album’s second half. The prolific singer-songwriter, who wrote over 150 tracks for the album, even dabbles in country with Tim McGraw duet “She Is” and channels the Lennon-McCartney songbook on the bonus track “Alone With You” dedicated to his daughter Maddie.
Unlike new releases from Usher and Chris Brown, where the people-pleasing shifts from pop to dance to R&B felt a little arbitrary at times, Ne-Yo sounds right at home on all 13 of “R.E.D.”‘s tracks. Perhaps that’s because he led or shared songwriting duties on the majority of the album, all with a refreshing lack of Auto-Tune on the vocals to boot. There’s a reason that soaring EDM-pop single “Let Me Love You” is his first top 10 hit as a lead artist since 2008’s more R&B-leaning “Miss Independent” — no matter what the genre, Ne-Yo finds a way to inject soul into everything he sings.
Which are the best tracks on “R.E.D.” (which stands for “Realizing Every Dream”)? Read on for Billboard’s track-by-track review of Ne-Yo’s latest album.
In 2002, Jerry was recognized by the West Coast Hip Hop Hall of Fame for his contributions to the growth and education of independent artists.
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