Cee Lo Green
The Lady Killer


4.0
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
November 7th, 2010 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A magnetic blend of old-fashioned songcraft paired with expertly conceived, modern production makes Cee-Lo's latest offering into a wholly satisfying feast of retro-soul hits.

Not until recently has Cee-Lo Green been regarded as a rightfully recognizable singer. Four years ago he achieved success forming Gnarls Barkley along with producer Danger Mouse when their groundbreaking urban pop album "St. Elsewhere" was released. Not many know that long before that Green (born Thomas Callaway) was a member of a breakthrough Southern hip-hop act, Goodie Mob as well as made a valid attempt at becoming a nu-soul extraordinaire with his critically acclaimed 2002 debut solo outing entitled "Cee-Lo Green And His Perfect Imperfections." This album and to a lesser extent its follower; which presented a wicked blend of soul, funk, hip-hop, jazz and rock; seemed too ahead of its time to gain mainstream popularity.

"The Lady Killer" is a completely different record with Cee-Lo abandoning his wild "Closet Freak" sensibilities in favor of far less bombastic and more accessible old soul. An already 36-year-old artist overtly proclaimed: "For too long I've been underground and underdog. This should not be a kamikaze mission." And it certainly is not. Although infectiously energetic funk and skillfully crafted, often politically-charged hip-hop deliveries are long gone, "The Lady Killer" works as a legitimately fun pop album that effectively showcases the most mainstream-oriented Cee-Lo's work to date. From the musical standpoint, the record can be described as an adventurous foray into retro-soul and Motown years paired with elaborately orchestrated passages that tend to resemble imaginary Bond theme songs. The songcraft might be purposefully vintage, yet the production remains up-to-date combining the old with the new in a cohesive manner. It was not easy to accomplish as the album was produced by numerous musicians who specialize in a wide variety of genres.

The task of attracting the wide audience has been already accomplished with the first single off the disc. As controversial as it might be to some, "*** You" is most certainly the most playful song about the bitterness of break-up ever created. With its top-notch catchy as hell songwriting and absolutely genius lyrics ("I guess he's an xbox and I'm more atari") it comes as the definite standout track. The album is far from being one trick pony though encompassing plenty of musical moods. Driven by an expertly conceieved interplay between atmospheric synths and cinematic orchestration "Bright Lights Bigger City" is an ideal party song, while "Bodies" recalls the dark stylings of the second Gnarls Barkley album with its minimalistic approach, jazzy trumpets and contrastively emotive vocal delivery. Moreover, "Love Gun" is a sexually charged duo with Lauren Bennett that perfectly addresses the murderous title of the disc.

In general, "The Lady Killer" is filled with potential smash hits due to the sense of melody being omnipresent on the entire record. For instance, "Satisfied" comes as an immediate candidate for a hit thanks to its light, exuberent tone paired with a playful chorus that feels like being sung by the 1950s Motown girl band. On the other side of the spectrum, there is fantastically upbeat funk of "Fool For You" featuring Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire fame. The album finishes with the two heartfelt ballads resembling the likes of the great Southern soul stylists Solomon Burke and O.V. Wright. Aptly titled "Old Fashioned" comes as both genuine and tender with Green soulful delivery: "My love's old fashioned, but it still works the way it is," whereas Band Of Horses' cover "No One's Gonna Love You" is an icing on the cake packing an emotional wallop with its sad, sorrowful melody. Arguably these tracks exemplify Cee-Lo's impressive vocal skills the most clearly.

Overall, while "The Lady Killer" feels rather restrained in comaprison to Green's earlier solo offerings, this is an excellent disc on its own retro-soul merits. It consists of more than a handful of superbly produced hit songs that will deservedly break Green out into the mainstream. It's one of these rare albums on which the singer doesn't lose his artistic integrity by recording more conventional music. Cee-Lo Green is one of a kind; it's high time the world took notice.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DonniSharK
November 7th 2010


466 Comments


I need to hear this, ASAP.

DiceMan
November 7th 2010


7068 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A few good songs here and there but overall it isn't all that great. "Fuck You" is an awesome song though.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@ DiceMan: Exactly my thoughts after the first 2 or 3 spins. My suggestion - listen to it more, man. This album is a grower.

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

Urinetrouble
November 7th 2010


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album slayz

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah it does. Thanks to whomever pos'd. I've just edited all the glitches I found.

AggravatedYeti
November 7th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is so good.

KnuckleChowder
November 7th 2010


157 Comments


A stream?

thebhoy
Emeritus
November 7th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^123

and then Fuck You right after it is golden.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. Bodies, Love Gun, Fool For You and Old Fashioned are also uber-cool.

Kosko
November 7th 2010


107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The bassist absolutely kills on this.

AtavanHalen
November 7th 2010


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

BRIGHT LIGHTS AND THE BIG CITYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's All Right, It's All Right, It's All Right.

Captain North
November 7th 2010


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wildflower is a beast of a song.

ComfortablyDumb
November 7th 2010


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
November 7th 2010


3777 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think one of the best things about Fuck You - my favorite song this year, by the way - is that it isn't controversial at all. To some idiots maybe, but it's done so well that it's like a lament, an insult, a joke and a celebration all at the same time, and it works so perfectly that controversy almost isn't an issue. I think the pitchfork track review noted that it was a song that marked 'post-censorship' or something, which, as wanky as it sounds, is actually quite pertinent.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2010


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I get your point. It's one of my favorite tracks of the year as well and it doesn't seem very
controversial to me at all, still there are two(?) censored versions and that fact speaks for itself.
Despite its overall playful tone, the label(?) decided it would be safer to release the track without
the f-words repeated many a time. It was certain that they would do it as soon as the song got more
exposure. So yeah, this is surely a matter of post-censorship.

Inveigh
November 8th 2010


25106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review man, I love the shit out of this record

Digging: Hail Mary Mallon - Bestiary

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2010


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks a bunch. I knew you'd like it.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2010


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Please is absolutely adorable, my current favorite.

AtavanHalen
December 6th 2010


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Why is Love Gun in place of Please in the US release?



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