Cee Lo Green The Lady Killer(Elektra Records) Buy it from Insound
Say what you want, this guy is cool, so utterly cool. This is one half of Gnarls Barkley; the Soul Machine; the man behind the voice that gave us Crazy; this is Cee Lo Green and if you haven’t seen him in a suit yet… well, suffice it to say, you should.
Now I know what you’re thinking, and I was there too, once: Cee Lo Green. Really? The guy who came up with Forget You. Really? Yes, honestly; and that chart friendly compromise is one of few things to taint an album that is a testament to the player, to the gentleman, to the lady killer in all of us. As you almost certainly know, Forget You is the weak, clean substitute version of the viral hit that was Fuck You, a righteous Motown vehicle of defiance, and a perfectly crafted pop song at that. And that’s exactly what you’ll find on this record: neo-soul infused, perfectly crafted pop on a timeless theme – the heartbroken and the heartbreakers – from start to finish.
So The Lady Killer begins with a wonderful moment, a skit – no, more a nonchalant introduction, climaxing from a piano tinkle to percussive inflections of the James Bond theme, “When it comes to ladies, I have a license to kill” Cee Lo Green observes - not cheesy, not arrogant – just cool, ice cool.
That is part of what makes this album so good, it should be cheesy, and it should be cringe pop at its worst, but, somehow, it isn’t. Take for example the silky vocals that croon across I Want You: “God is good / but he took his time when he made you, baby.” In the context of this album and that voice what should be a poor chat up line feels more like carefully selected weapon. Instrumentally it’s filled throughout with R&B backers, nudging jazz trumpets, smooth piano keys, sweeping strings and the odd synthesizer – this is very much pop, but it’s at the right end of the spectrum. Such an alliance of incredible vocals, well considered production and lyrics has served Cee Lo Green well over the years, and that remains here with apparently effortless consistency.
That summative effort said, if I may, I want to make one more attempt to persuade you. Reading this you are probably one of two people: the average floppy haired indie kid - wearing jeans so tight they double up as makeshift tourniquets - or the Britpop veteran - lusting after times so far gone that the name Liam Gallagher wasn’t yet fully interchangeable with a four letter word beginning with C. I don’t mean to patronise you and this record might not seem your thing, but trust me, it is. The Lady Killer is generic in the best possible sense of the word; put simply: this is music for the soul, and even Mr. Gallagher has one of those.14 November, 2010 - 19:21 — Joe Iliff