Libra Scale Ne-Yo (CD)
Singer-songwriter Ne-Yo is back with his fourth studio album, Libra Scale. This is a very smooth album that has already topped the UK R&B charts. It also has a twist - the lyrics of each song make up a piece of a larger story.
Champagne Life is a perfect opener. Its relaxed beat combines with feel-good lyrics like 'trouble is a bubble in a champagne glass' to make a great party track that is typical of Ne-Yo's charismatic style.
But One in a Million shows what Ne-Yo can really do. This is a slick song with a strong bongo beat that reminds you of the Caribbean. His suave lyrics could make girls swoon: 'There's a million girls around but I don't see anyone but you.'
Beautiful Monster is a dance track that is strongly influenced by Michael Jackson. Ne-Yo says 'MJ might be gone but his spirit should live in our music' and this song makes that statement loud and clear. Perhaps Ne-Yo goes too far, with some sounds such as the synths feeling a little dated.
Ne-Yo strikes a good balance between modern, up-beat numbers like One in a Million and the more old-school style sound of songs like Crazy Love, a funky Lauren Hill-sounding love song. It's a compelling album, but unlikely to bring a new audience to R&B.