(2010) Libra Scale

Ne-Yo

... read moreGoing by this high-concept return, it’s apparent that Ne-Yo was not strictly invested in the output of others -- Rihanna, Raheem DeVaughn, Monica, Rick Ross, and Fantasia, to name a few -- after the release of Year of the Gentleman. Although Libra Scale sounds like a natural extension of the...

41′:17″ 10 Songs

1
Champagne Life (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
5:23
2
Makin' A Movie (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
3:51
3
Know Your Name (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
4:06
4
Telekinesis (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
4:22
5
Crazy Love (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
3:49
6
One In A Million (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
4:02
7
Genuine Only (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
3:54
8
Cause I Said So (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
3:48
9
Beautiful Monster (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
4:11
10
What Have I Done? (Album Version)
Ne-Yo
3:51
Released 01 January 2010, ℗ 2010 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Review

Going by this high-concept return, it’s apparent that Ne-Yo was not strictly invested in the output of others -- Rihanna, Raheem DeVaughn, Monica, Rick Ross, and Fantasia, to name a few -- after the release of Year of the Gentleman. Although Libra Scale sounds like a natural extension of the singer/songwriter’s three-album 2006-2008 run, its germination started with a short story, which inspired the ten songs. Some of the details were revealed in the videos for the singles, as well as the album’s booklet, containing a comic put together with living legend Stan Lee. Disregard the dressing, and Libra Scale can be heard as a standard Ne-Yo album. It does not sound like a soundtrack for a story about three garbage men who must protect their city -- there are no character themes, likely for the better -- but one can hear most of the material being expressed by the protagonist as he lives it up, develops a relationship, and deals with the consequences. Most of Libra Scale consists of Ne-Yo's typical modern uptown R&B, with the relaxed, upscale party anthem “Champagne Life,” the sweet devotional “One in a Million,” and the private-reflecting-pond ballad “What Have I Done?” the standouts. “Beautiful Monster,” a Euro-flavored dance-pop single full of drama, is the only song that sounds out of place (and it stalled in the 60s of the Billboard R&B chart). The level of sophistication -- arrangements with subtle details, the frequency of slow tempos, a couple well-trodden motifs -- lends itself to a couple tepid tunes, but Ne-Yo remains a premier source of R&B that is both traditional and contemporary. ~ Andy Kellman