If you haven’t heard Cee Lo Green’s highly memorable lead single from The Lady Killer, stop reading this immediately and purchase what iTunes and Amazon MP3 will tell you is his most popular song.
“What?! / That real, that deep, that burning / That amazing, unconditional, inseparable love,” exclaims our resident “Lady Killer” against a heavy groove of a jazzy, minory ecstasy in late-album track “Fool for You.” Ohhhmylord.
But the fun begins a bit earlier— In “The Lady Killer Theme (Intro),” to be exact. Cee Lo (as the “Lady Killer”) introduces himself (albeit, with some intended mysteriousness), and proceeds to escort us right into the middle of the late-night chaos of “Bright Lights Bigger City.” Luminescent disco balls sporadically emit blinding rays of shimmering synths, and classical strings weave a sonic cushion of deep violet around bursts of ruby red and royal blue. Atop all of this, our narrator authoritatively proclaims, “It’s alright! / It’s alright! / It’s alright! / Bright lights and the big city! / It belongs to us tonight.”
And the man knows how to sing. I mean, if Cee Lo’s voice were an instrument, every phrase would be a coveted, Jimmy Page-level solo, completely inaccessible to anyone but the sole creator. Potential future single “Wildflower” would make a fool out of even a well-trained modern vocalist, but Cee Lo makes it seem like a mere warm-up. Green’s expansive vibrato remains flawless through both the stirring, stop-and-start verse melodies and the expressive falsetto pockets of the chorus. What a ride!
But Cee Lo knows when to let it simmer, too. As the story of The Lady Killer nears its end, Mr. Green connects with the softest “one-two” punch in modern alt/pop history. Blow number one is the achingly vintage “Old Fashioned,” where our speaker belts out an ageless ballad with meticulous finesse and heartfelt articulation. “Old Fashioned” is followed directly by the seemingly risky cover of “No One’s Gonna Love You” (Band of Horses), and this is the “two” of the “one-two” punch. Not only does our “Lady-slaying” raconteur manage this song effortlessly and beautifully, but increases the overall likability of the tune to a level of undeniable and irresistible fervency. OH, does this album have to end?!
I guess it doesn’t necessarily have to end.. After all, music organizing software companies and physical music player corporations do provide a “repeat” button for a reason.
87% / B+ ☆