Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer
Record Label: Elektra Records
Release Date: November 5, 2010
It's really no secret that Cee Lo Green has a flair for the dramatic. After deciding to split from hip-hop group Goodie Mob to focus on his solo efforts, Green has continued to promote this image in various ways. His first solo album highlighted his so-called Perfect Imperfections, while the second dubbed him the Soul Machine. While Perfect Imperfections was deeply experimental in its own right, Soul Machine was where Green found his niche in the music scene. As half of the duo Gnarls Barkley, Green's flamboyant personality once again found a suitable outlet. The over-the-top music could only be matched by the outlandish outfits the band often wore while performing live, and the unique sound both Green and Danger Mouse produced through this project has yet to be matched.
And with the announcement and subsequent release of The Lady Killer, Green continues his love for the imaginative within the confines of a new persona. As the eponymous Lady Killer, Green speaks on the beauty and danger of love. Each song on the album exemplifies one of these extremes through the use of elaborate scenery. But even though the album is set atop such a high concept, Green's electrifying personality continues to shine through.
The album, as well as the character, are both introduced in the first track. “The Lady Killer Theme” begins with a short spoken intro from Green over the soft twinkling of piano keys. What follows is a short musical interlude that serves as the theme song for the album, invoking memories of old-school television programs. The album's first two singles follow afterwards. “Fuck You” is Green's biggest hit since St. Elsewhere's “Crazy,” and basically amounts to an anthem demeaning a woman who constantly put Green on the back burner. Despite the title and lyrical content, “Fuck You” is a fun track, full of classic soul and enough emotion to win the listener over immediately. The second single “Bright Lights Bigger City” is a musical composition of immense scale. The extensive use of synthesizers, coupled with a beautiful string arrangement, can make any small town feel like a huge metropolitan. Green's vocals are unsurprisingly catchy but the lyrics, subtly sad and empty when compared to the musical accompaniment, are also a huge part of what makes this song a winner.
I'm incredibly sensitive to the pacing of an album, and that's one thing that The Lady Killer does perfectly. Green proves himself time and time over in this area as the album continues on to its conclusion. From the reserved pop sensibilities found in“Wildflower” and “Fool for You” to the intensely beautiful “Bodies” and “Love Gun,” everything is where it should be. Even the intro and outro prove themselves wonderfully, providing the basis for the album's concept without being too heavy-handed in their execution.
On a first playthrough, the album may seem a bit too top-heavy. Leading with the singles tends to do that to other releases, but the quiet way in which The Lady Killer keeps the listener hooked is fantastic. The best example of this is the track “I Want You.” It's a sweet picture of a woman who managed to attach herself to Green's heart in a serious way, and that shines through with every note and line. While Green limits himself slightly through his vocals until the end of the song, the lyrics are full of enough emotion to fill in the blanks.
Although The Lady Killer is portrayed as another of Green's bombastic characters, it may be the best representation of the musician's true self throughout his storied career. Every lyric, every note, every song on this album come together to create such a wide spectrum of emotions that it's hard to believe that it's all part of Green's imagination. From joy to sadness to anger, The Lady Killer explores every nook and cranny of relationships and, on a wider scale, life. Green remains one of the most talented musicians today with this release, and The Lady Killer makes an impressive case for album of the year.
1. i saw cee lo last weekend at a heineken free show and he KILLED IT!
2. this album is amazing
3. random fact: his daughter was on an episode of my super sweet 16...dont ask
4. "fuck you" really reminds me of a classic motown vibe.
So cool to see someone else on this site mention Plan B. Is it really better than Defamation...?
i'm partial to cee-lo, man. the guy's been around for more than a decade and i feel like he finally made the album he should've made years ago as far as solo efforts go. nothing against the other two (both great) but man, this one's awesome.