Cee Lo’s debut album Cee-Lo Green & His Perfect Imperfections ended up being a good idea that didn’t quite meet up to it’s full potential creatively. And commercially it went down with a great big fizzle. When he was about to release his second album OutKast released their masterpiece Aquemini,actually two seperate individual statements from each member. With it’s blockbuster success,Cee Lo knew he’d have to do something to improve his luck a little the second time around. So he teamed with Antonio LA Reid,noted for his ability to created commercial success seemingly on command,for his second album. All being said it was not a bad try.
Collaborating with Pharell wasn’t a bad idea on the pumping,dance floor friendly funky soul of “The Art Of Noise” as well as “Living Again”,which doesn’t feature Pharell but sounds it. A wah wah powered spoke word funk piece “I’m Selling My Soul” is another strong number as is the melodically soulful “All Day Love Affair”,a warm hearted tribute to Cee Lo’s girlfriend. “When We Were Friends”,”Sometimes”,”Let’s Stay Together”,not the Al Green classic but sure sounds like Al as well as “Die Trying” are all potent examples of fine retro soul songwriting that would be Cee Lo’s stock in trade in the future. So it hardly matters the ten or so hip-hop numbers here still mostly leave one cold.
After this of course Cee Lo teamed up with Danger Mouse for Gnarls Barkley,a project that earned Cee Lo the same level of success OutKast did a few years earlier. Several years after Gnarles Barkley drifted apart Cee Lo re-imagined his solo career with The Lady Killer,this time with far more commercially and creatively impressive results. What is most important is how this particular album so well represents his “first solo career” so to speak. He embodies the defining characteristics of the soul artist so well. On the surface there’s a stereotypical southern hip-hopper. Just skin deep under that though is a decent,very religious family man with strong moral and social values. It’s the old blend of the spiritual and the secular. On this,that musical argument isn’t given such a big audience. It’s still there. But he’s starting to really move onto greater things.
Originally posted on August 18th,2012