As a fan, I personally did not like Ne-Yo’s last offering Libra Scale. I am having a hard time remembering the singles he released in that album. What I know is that Libra was more of an experiment for this slick and artistic singer-songwriter. Now after 3 years of writing and collaborating with other artists, Ne-Yo’s back for his fifth studio album R.E.D. which stands for Realizing Every Dream.
- The Cracks In Mr. Perfect – Right off the bat, Ne-Yo’s first track made me realize why I loved his music in the first place. His tone is oozing with icy-cool swag. In addition, we get to hear a more honest Ne-Yo in this track as he sings about him trying hard to be faithful, being irresponsible, trying to be little competitive (I say I’m not a hater / but I hate to see you shine), and spending 40k in three hours.
- Lazy Love – A sexy cool track about doing the deed that reminds me of his past bedroom-ready hit songs like Sexy Love and When Your Mad. Well, that’s mainly about it.
- Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself) – This song is co-written by Sia (the same person who gave you dance hits Titanium and Wild Ones) who obviously made this song one of the best dance hits of 2012. I don’t know what’s with her that makes all her collaborations click. This track is definitely on my playlist and on repeat.
- Miss Right – Another beautiful, solid track from Ne-Yo. I just love the R&B vibe of this album so far and this track is no exception.
- Jealous – Oh gosh I love this album already and we’re just five tracks in! This track started off with a synthesizing piano solo and then Ne-Yo steps in with a Said I’m Je-Jealous intro that sounded so much like Michael Jackson. The whole song is catchy that I can feel another hit song coming out from Mr. Ne-Yo.
- Don’t Make Em Like You Feat. Wiz Khalifa – The intro makes me too dizzy and sick, but Ne-Yo’s voice comes to the rescue at around the 00:10 mark. This track is more on the hip-hop side and you won’t be disappointed. Surprisingly, this is another catchy attack that everyone can sing-along at the “hey hey” part of the chorus and join in clapping. Rapper Wiz Khalifa elevated this song to the next level.
- Be The One – With all the synthesizers going on, I thought this song will burst out into dance mode halfway through. I was waiting for it and waiting for it, but it ended in mid-tempo, making me wanting so much more.
- Stress Reliever – This song freaks me out. An R&B ballad about taking out stress intimately. This song makes me want to grab and cuddle someone and just lay down and do some more cuddling.
- She Is Feat. Tim McGraw – Am I hearing this right? Ne-Yo teams up with Country superstar Tim McGraw? Interesting! Truly unexpected! I have to say this song actually works! This song is like breath of fresh air right smack in the middle of an album heavy of soul and R&B.
- Carry On (Her Letter To Him) – This swerves a little bit away from Ne-Yo’s genre, leaving this song a bit disconnected with the rest of the album. However, here we get to listen to his pure and amazingly beautiful voice.
- Forever Now – Wear your dancing shoes and off to the dance-floor! This track brings everyone back to the fun vibe of the first half of the album with Let Me Love You. Another future smash club-hit for Ne-Yo.
- Shut Me Down – And leave your dancing shoes on because it’s party time! Another club-ready track for our R&B star.
- Unconditional – And what better way to end an incredible fifth effort than to give his listeners an appealing, romantic track that tackles Ne-Yo’s vow of unconditional love. I just love the dub-step vibe of this feel-good song and of course Ne-Yo’s wonderful vocals.
Final Thoughts: A remarkable album from Ne-Yo. Though he injected and attacked different genres like dance and country, everything seems to work in his favor (unlike the latest efforts of Usher and Chris Brown). I don’t know, but everything Ne-Yo touches—with just a little flava and a whole lot of soul—turns magical.
Songs to be put on your Playlist: Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself), Jealous, Forever Now, Unconditional, Don’t Make Em Love You, Miss Right.
Grab this album if you like: Usher, Chris Brown, Sia, Calvin Harris, Miguel.
4.5 out of 5