Ne-Yo – Libra Scale | Album Review

Ne-Yo brings us a new album in the form of Libra Scale. Although this album was meant to be a conceptually themed album, I missed that aspect completely.

What I didn’t miss however was that Ne-Yo is channelling Michael Jackson more then ever via his stacked harmonies, vocal arrangements and writing style; it’s MJ all over really. Far from being a cheap imitator, Ne-Yo does manage to hold his own and left me wondering what it would have been like to hear music they would have worked on together.

Although in the most part I found this album to be a little flat, there were some good points. ‘Beautiful Monster,’ which probably annoys the life out of many, is a strong song with a very catchy chorus and it is evident that sonically it ticked all the boxes of what is ‘hot’ right now in Pop music.

This is about as close as Ne-Yo gets to the synth-driven-bordering-on-house-type-Euro-R&B sound. I respect Ne-Yo for the fact that he doesn’t buy into these trends as much as other artists and I feel this is what keeps him as successful as he is. This album is further proof of that statement and although the song content is pretty much standard procedure, the sound isn’t the stagnant R&B we have been subjected to.

‘Makin’ A Movie,’ ‘Telekinesis,’ and ‘Crazy Love’ all rely on more standard instrumentation of the R&B. ‘Know Your Name’ pushes the boat out slightly further with it’s Swing/Bossa style and Eerie strings, adding another feather to the Ne-Yo Fedora and likely something he will explore in the future given his aforementioned hat and suit with braces image.

I found that ‘Genuine Only’ had a touching sentiment, although I failed to get the track as a whole and ‘Cause I Said So’ was one of the more uptempo numbers on the album, although it sounded like an idea that was turned into ‘Beautiful Monster’ as opposed to a separate track in its own right.

‘What Have I Done’ was a great exploration of writing and sound for Ne-Yo, a progressive chord structure full of tension and relief, which didn’t follow a typical song structure. ‘One In A Million’ was a catchy song and you can see why it was chosen for a single release.

My favourite from the album has to be ‘Champagne Life.’ I didn’t expect him to open the album with this song, but I’m glad he did as it sets a nice tone for the pace of the album – however, with it being my favourite, I feel he peaked too early and only managed to reel me interest back in a couple of times after it. I wouldn’t say Libra Scale was a bad effort, yet still not the greatest offering from someone as accomplished in pop writing as Ne-Yo. However, I feel he has more in store for us and we haven’t yet seen the best of him.

Libra Scale is out now via Def Jam.

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