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Closet Freak: The Best of Cee-Lo Green the Soul Machine

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Album Review

Uh-huh, this one had to come down the pipe. Sometimes, when a label seeks to cash in on one of its artists — or former artists — they put something together that might be needed but is wholly unexpected. What's more, they get it right. That's the case with Cee Lo Green's Closet Freak: The Best of Cee Lo Green the Soul Machine. It's the exception rather than the rule of best-of compilations: the contents are so fine there's no quibbling about what is here, which makes what may be left off easier to bear. Those not familiar with Cee Lo until they heard him fronting Gnarls Barkley on the smash single "Crazy," (Gnarls Barkley is a two-man project involving Cee Lo and producer Danger Mouse — Brian Burton) from their creative and wacky debut album St. Elsewhere (the pop album of 2006), will be delighted by the material here. There are a total of three cuts from his days with the Atlanta rap group Goodie Mob, and generous selections from his two solo albums Cee Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections, and Cee Lo Green...Is the Soul Machine. It's not the same by a long shot, but the root elements of that sound are all here. Cee Lo is eternally funky: he can sing, rap, and produce; that is in full evidence on this generous set of 17 cuts. His unmistakable voice can be heard on Goodie Mob 's "Free," "Soul Food," and "Cell Therapy." But it's on the solo material, from "Gettin' Grown," the title track, "I'll Be Around" (with Timbaland), the completely insane "Childz Play," (with Ludacris) and the acid-drenched psychedelic funk of "Under the Influence" (with Follow Me), that are a few of the standouts on this weighty slab of the good stuff. Whether this is a further introduction, or you've been with the Bald tattoed one for a decade, this is the way a best-of gets done. Pure pleasure for freaky people.

Closet Freak: The Best of Cee-Lo Green the Soul Machine, Cee-Lo
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