Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer | Album Review

Cee Lo Green possesses the ability to present serious and even melancholy themes to audiences without depressing anyone; almost presenting a paradox as upbeat production and his emotive, raspy falsetto both belie the lyrical content and leave listeners elated. The starkly obvious example of this is 2003’s “Crazy”, which dealt with mental health by making you question “does that make me crazy?” and then shrug, “probably”.

The Lady Killer’s lead track “Fuck You” is this record’s “Crazy”, and it deals with rejection over an infectious, saccharine beat, and makes fans (well, me at least) want to cheerily chuck expletives at everyone while doing a shoulder bounce and foot shuffle.

In fact, The Lady Killer on a whole taps into Cee Lo’s knack for delivering depth and clever, introspective content over jubilant production. Cee Lo becomes ‘The Lady Killer’ at the start of the record, a James Bond-like character who is suave, smooth and seeped in sexual prowess. From the introduction alone we’re thrust back to the funk era and are set up for a collection of light-hearted, potentially gimmicky lovers jams delivered by a smooth-voiced Lothario who has the “license to kill”. The set, instead, goes way beyond the surface and deals with relationships on a whole.

Declarations of love and it’s effects are felt on the brooding “Nobody’s Gonna Love You” and the upbeat Fraser T. Smith produced “Wildflower”. “It’s OK” tells the story of love lost over finger-snaps and backing vocals which could have come straight from a Motown record, while hopefulness is felt on “Satisfy”.

European bonus track, “Please” (featuring Selah Sue) is seeped in desperation. The Salaam Remi produced “Bodies” and “Love Gun” featuring Lauren Bennett (which you might have heard ex-Pussycat Doll member Melody Thornton vocal a few months back) run closest to the Lady Killer theme, evoking imagery akin to the visuals provided in the video for The Lady Killer’s second single, “Bright Lights, Bigger City”.

Sonically, the record pools from influences of soul from yester-year. One of my favourite cuts on the record is Southern soul ballad “Old Fashioned”, simply because it reminds me of Otis Redding. Aside from sounds inspired by the early ’60s Chitlin Circuit, you hear elements from the Motown era and the 70’s funk all tied together cohesively under Cee Lo’s velvety tone. However The Lady Killer is more than a mere regurgitation of old soul, it is one of the most refreshing pop records I’ve heard in a while, and will no doubt, mark another defining moment in Cee Lo’s catalogue.

The Lady Killer is out now. Purchase via iTunes UK / US or Amazon UK / US.

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