On "Cracks in Mr. Perfect," the confessional opener on his fifth LP, Ne-Yo is the sort of beautiful smoothie who fucks you without a condom, then shrugs sheepishly and says, "It's our imperfections that truly make us perfect." Bullshit notwithstanding, his silky phrasing gilds an impressively broad mix: steamy R&B ("Lazy Love"), bighearted dance pop ("Let Me Love You [Until You Learn to Love Yourself]") and hip-hop soul ("Don't Make 'Em Like You," with a sick slow-mo groove and a charming Wiz Khalifa rap), even a country crossover ballad ("She Is"). Still, as peers like Frank Ocean and Miguel boldly reimagine commercial R&B, this often feels less like vision than parsing market research.
star ratingModern Vampires of the City
- star ratingRandom Access Memories
- star ratingLSXX: Last Splash: 20th Anniversary Edition
- star ratingThe Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film
- star ratingMother
- star ratingTime