Ne-Yo Year of the Gentleman

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Singer-songwriter Ne-Yo released his 3rd studio effort Year of the Gentleman last Tuesday. The Grammy award winner told MTV that with the album’s title, he’s “trying to take it back to where you couldn’t walk out of the house unless you looked your best.” While Ne-Yo describes the well-dressed man, this album also speaks to the gentle, sensitive man – an integral part of a male R&B album.

“Closer” the album’s first single – is an up-tempo, dance/pop song – a style that greatly differs from Ne-Yo’s usually laid back melodies. “Nobody” is a feel good, snap your fingers and dance the night away song that evokes thoughts of Michael Jackson from beginning to end. “Miss Independent,” the Top 20 song in the U.S and 2nd single off the album is an ode to what Destiny’s Child deemed “Independent Women.” Ne-Yo rhapsodizes about his appreciation for a woman that walks, talks, works and plays like a boss.


With songs like “Fade Into the Background,” & “Part of the List,” 90s R&B comes to mind. In “Fade Into the Background,” Ne-Yo realizes that he’s lost his love forever and now that she’s “in that white dress at the far end of the aisle” he can only “smile and fade into the background.” “Part of the List,” with its guitar backdrop & Babyface reminiscent sound, is an endearing song about the never ending list of idiosyncrasies Ne-Yo loves and misses about the object of his affection. In “Lie to Me,” Ne-Yo hits an emotional rockbottom dealing with infidelity, desperation, rage & denial.

However, all is hope is not lost. On the 12th & final song on the album, “Stop This World,” Ne-Yo describes the cloud 9, merry-go-round kind of love. “I can’t feel the ground/I’ve never felt so high as I do now/I’ve never felt a love strong enough to stop this world from spinning.” Year of the Gentleman is filled with highs, lows and ends on an ethereal high. The noticeable lack of guest appearances, Ne-Yo’s vulnerability and “picture this” moments give the album a more intimate feeling.

Year of the Gentleman is in stores now & bonus tracks “She’s Got Her Own,” “In the Way” & “What’s the Matter” are available on iTunes.

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