Album Review: Year of the Gentleman

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 11:22 AM

Artist: Ne-yo
Album: Year of the Gentleman
Release Date: 9.16.08

They say nice guys finish last, and generally I tend to agree. We end up being the guys that stand firm for everyone else but we’re hardly ever understood. With Year of the Gentleman, that’s all about to change. Every song on Ne-yo’s aptly-titled third studio album is told from the perspective of the consummate gentleman. This album does what Usher’s Here I Stand was unable to successfully do – it matures. While the vocals on Gentleman are the best of all his projects, the true highlights are in the lyrics. As proven before, Ne-yo has an impeccable way of capturing moments and emotions with his pen and transforming them into a work of pure genius. For the ladies this album has humility, sensitivity, honesty, vulnerability but for the fellas, this album shows character, strength and expression.

The pop-dance lead single Closer opens the album, and then he moves into the groovy MJ-influenced Nobody, where the belle of the ball has our hero spellbound on the dance floor. Ne-yo makes his move on Single (Polow Da Don), closing in with some slick harmony on the hook and some lines that would weaken the knees of any dejected lover. He steps outside of himself on Why Does She Stay, the most humble and honest of the tracks: “She’s so much better than me, I’m so unworthy of her… Why does she stay?” Well apparently she doesn’t and he’s forced to Fade into the Background, a vivid illustration of every man’s worst nightmare: she marries the other guy while you’ve been invited to witness. So You Can Cry reminds me so much of myself – Ne-yo puts aside his own problems to put things into perspective for a heartbroken friend – the definition of a gentleman! Tearful memories of a departed lover illustrate my personal song of choice on the album, Part of the List, where again the lyrics dominate: “They’re all part of the list, things that I miss, things like your funny little laugh or the way you smile or the way we kiss”. The closing song, Stop This World is an emotive wedding ballad, and the vocal high point of the album. The sensitivity felt in the vocals and the lyrics is so stirring it gave me chills just listening to it!

Year of the Gentleman is Ne-yo’s best album to date. He steps up his content and brings us back to the reason we all loved Ne-yo, even before we knew he was So Sick – he can write his ass off! This project doesn’t have the baby-making slow jams like its predecessors, but it elevates to a more “grown man” perspective. There is still a lot of classic Michael Jackson influence like the falsetto and other vocal techniques (Lie To Me and Back To What You Know) borrowed from the King of Pop which Ne-yo skillfully makes his own. What’s not to love here? On the next album, I'd maybe like to hear him try some acoustic joints, or even a song with some rock-influence. I highly recommend this joint for all the grown and sexy listeners, here’s a dose of real music as only a gentleman can prescribe.

Related Posts:

Ne-yo: Miss Independent

Your Prescription is IN: R&B Edition

She Got It...


4 comments and counting...

  1. I wasn't really sold on Ne-Yo aside from that song he released before Ms. Independent, but this has me intrigued so I'm definitely going to Itunes this ASAP and see what Ne-Yo is talking on this album.

    Posted on September 15, 2008 at 3:33 PM

  2. Sane Said,

    I LOVED this review and I equally loved this album, Mack. I agree with everything you said, I never really looked at it like this album hit where HERE I STAND didn't. Ooooh I know Usher was mad when he heard it. Neyo gives the fans what they want and is comfortable with that. I love it!

    Posted on September 15, 2008 at 10:37 PM

  3. bshepjr Said,

    imo, his cd was his best, but i can play both of these cd's front to back which is rare for me. this is a VERY mature album.

    fav songs:
    why does she stay (man this hits home)
    stop this world
    so you can cry

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 12:39 AM

  4. bshepjr Said,

    *his 1st cd

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 12:40 AM


Post a Comment