Ne-Yo: Non-Fiction

R&B star has trouble keeping the plot on uneven concept album

With younger, fresher soulmen like Miguel, Frank Ocean and the Weeknd on the scene, Ne-Yo has been left grasping for relevance. In the intro to the deluxe edition of this sprawling album, he confusingly describes Non-Fiction as "complete fiction" about "real characters going through real things." The music, sadly, can be just as tough to follow: Ne-Yo aimlessly veers from fist-pumping with David Guetta and Pitbull to pimp-strolling with Jeezy and Juicy J. His smoothest moves come when he channels longtime influence Michael Jackson (the Off the Wall groove of "Coming With You") and Marvin Gaye (the I Want You seduction of "Integrity"). Some things never go out of style.