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CD Review: Ne-Yo’s ‘R.E.D.’

Shea Serrano

The Details

Three stars

There are two ways to process R.E.D., the fifth album from singer/songwriter/actor/talent scout Ne-Yo: 1. It’s proto-R&B, the type of stylish mashup of sounds and styles required of any modern-day “urban” singer who wants to earn significant play; or 2. It’s a semi-attractive mess, an attempt to corral the many things the lilac-voiced 30-year-old does well. The album has a lot going on, but unfortunately, a third of the time it’s to the detriment of the project. In one moment, Ne-Yo is conquering the dancetastic template that has dominated the upper crust of Billboard’s Top 100 chart forseeminglyever (“Forever Now”), in the next, he’s feeling around in the dark, grasping at a semblance of comfort alongside country star Tim McGraw. He obliterates adult R&B (“Lazy Love”), then crushes pop rap (“Don’t Make ’em Like You”). Ne-Yo flexes all of his might on R.E.D., that seems certain, but at times it can be just a little too Hulk-ish in its execution.


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