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The Lady Killer

Cee Lo Green

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Album Review

“Fuck You,” the feel-joyously-spiteful hit of summer 2010, should cast a large shadow across Cee Lo Green's third proper solo album. The singer’s biggest solo single to date, it’s the best form of novelty hit — a side-splitting surface supported with a durable underbelly, combining Millie Jackson-level lyrical frankness with a knockout throwback-soul production. Even without the presence of “Fuck You,” The Lady Killer would remain a thoroughly engrossing album. Bookended by a recurring spy-film theme, the set is loaded with a potent mix of Green’s singular voice — meaning his graceful bellow and his oddball personality — and knowing, hefty soul arrangements sheathed in hip-hop vigor, often embellished with strings, horns, and substantive background vocals. As with 2004’s Soul Machine, some of the best songs here share titles with R&B classics. The testimonial “Wildflower” switches between corny/winking couplets (“Sexy is in season/Share your sunshine with me”) and amusing metaphor play (“Hold her with both my hands/Put her right on my table when I get her home”). The infectiously beaming “Fool for You,” served with a choppy gait, carries as much pride as Ray Charles' “ A Fool for You.” “I Want You,” yet another song that punches and swirls, isn’t as straightforward as its title suggests; it’s about pressing the reset button on a dying relationship. The final full song, “No One’s Gonna Love You,” is a cover — not of the S.O.S. Band, but Band of Horses. It’s a faithful version that humbly spotlights the versatility of a fascinating talent. Just as importantly, it’s a suitable way to follow “Old Fashioned,” a tear-the-roof-down ballad drenched in reverb and sweat.

Biography

Born: 30 May 1974 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Multi-talented and flamboyant, Cee Lo Green initially made a name for himself and his trademark crooning as part of pioneering Dirty South rappers Goodie Mob before he broke away in the early 2000s for a colorful solo route. Along with fellow Atlanta rappers OutKast, Goodie Mob laid out the blueprint for the Dirty South style during the mid-'90s, making serious waves with their debut album, Soul Food (1995). Cee Lo was an important member of the group, often singing the hooks to many of Goodie Mob's...
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The Lady Killer, Cee Lo Green
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