This is actually his third album, but obviously the one that launched his major solo fame. Previously, we've known him best for being a part of Gnarls Barkley. For this album, he's toured with an all-female band (oh you man you). And, while we've been covering a lot of nominees but not many winners, let's go ahead and note that "Fool For You" DID win the Grammys for Best Traditional R&B Perofrmance and Best R&B Song. Not to shabby sir.
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"Well hello there." Cee Lo takes us in with a gentle piano and a little talk on himself and how he has a license to kill the ladies in "The Lady Killer Theme - Intro." Once he's done talking, he launches into a Bond-esq theme to open things. If you've seen some of the videos before, you know there's some cool old spy elements to them, with a funky design.
"Bright Lights Bigger City" has been one of my favorite songs since it appears on Wrestlemania commercials last year. It's so much fun and has some awesome musical themes throughout. It gives a dance beat without major bass pumping through, and it's got a very youthful sense of partying. There's just nothing about it to hate in the least bit.
Sooo, story time. "Glee" did "Forget You" last year, and it was a ton of fun. My roommate overheard me singing it around the house, and went "I can't believe how big that version got - the original's so much better!" And I said, "Well, I mean, it's "Glee" so..." and he said "NO! Go look up "Fuck You!"" So I did. And man, was he right. There's so much more poignancy to the song with cursing in it, and you know it. What an incredible kiss off song in every way. The music is fresh yet a cool throwback with the additional singers and use of snare. This is the song that got us Cee Lo as we know and love in mainstream.
And now we get into the songs I don't know. "Wildflower" has that same element of 70's disco to it, without going overboard. I don't think you'd hear melodies like this back then, though maybe a similar voice. Regardless though, what a really kind of awesome song. It's love of some sort for the girl, and, even through the innuendos, some really nice sentiments. "Everybody's got a little light under the sun." Really cute, but still remaining really adult through a lot of it.
"Bodies" comes in with a low drum tap that builds, and some interesting little oddities adding in until the voice hits. It's a slower number, but about placing the blame for a one night stand. The female's response is whispered in the background. He's been able to get her there, but she had to have been willing to go there too. It's an interesting track, more than anything, because I think you're left wondering what the story's about really. A little mature, but fascinating throughout for some reason.
Lauren Bennett joins in and is shot with the "Love Gun." She's been shot - seriously, listen to the song. It's kind of an interesting use of gun shots in a song. I don't think I've ever heard something like that before, other than maybe M.I.A. Oh lord, they're spelling out the title toward the end. Eh, whatever. It's still a cool song for the album. Can't tell if she's upset or okay with being shot, but again - eh, whatever.
"Satisfied" brings back, at least more prevalently, the horns in the backing and quick drumming. It's back to love songs here, just talking about trying to make someone happy (never easy of course). I kind of love the chorus and choir handling it here - they're having fun but still giving their hearts out there. I know there's the sexual undertones here, but you can take it as just a really cute love song too.
In a much lower register than the previous songs, we get the chorus of "I Want You." He's not kidding man, this song is all about wanting to make this girl happy be any means necessary. There's no doubt in the air whatsoever. And he wants her to want him back too. The song's on the lighter side, despite the lower notes, and just flows evenly throughout.
I may have lied - I think I've heard "Cry Baby" before. These songs are too incredibly sweet sounding - did this style always make the sad songs sound happy? Anywhos, the horns are in swing, and he's leaving her. He's seen this scene a thousand times before with other girls. Yah know, Cee Lo really doesn't have a fantastic voice, but it's interesting and very different. Something to listen to at least.
Philip Bailey comes on for "Fool For You." Definitely more hip hop going on here. I have to say, if nothing else, this album remains fun to listen to throughout, because, for once, you don't know what to expect from track to track. Everything ties together, but is a little different each time, and nothing's ever exactly the same. This one, for instance, takes a whole different rhythm than the rest, even in the slowed down chorus parts.
"It's OK" is so reminiscent of the Supreme and I love it. The music screams 60's/70's and it's fun. The song's beyond just cute because it's got a lot more. He's got great backing in those girls, and they support in a way you don't hear in music anymore. This is the kind of stuff you're going to hear kids in a generation say they were inspired by musically to make a different sound for their own time.
Needed another second away from work, so that's Cee Lo. Cool use of colors and effects on those drawings. It's kind of cheesy overall, this text concept with funky little effects, but just so enough that it works well.
In an appropriate move, we slow down for "Old Fashioned." The echo on his voice might drive me up a wall - this is seriously overdone. The song didn't need that in the least bit. I mean, it's romantic lyrically, don't get me wrong. It's a sweet crooner's song about the kind of love you see so rarely, but it's just very difficult to listen to.
"No One's Gonna Love You" has more of a modern feel to it, maybe even venturing into today's styles, at least until Cee Lo's voice comes in. There's some great strings in there that I didn't notice until the bridge - they give a really nice effect to the music as a whole and take it back a little. The computer-pumped-in beats in combinations with those older sounds, including the voice, make it for, again, one of the interesting listens that maybe was unexpected from the get-go.
Final song time - "The Lady Killer Theme - Outro." Here's a quick little ending with that same spy theme, but after listening, maybe it's not the credits rolling - maybe it's running away as the villain.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Bright Lights Bigger City"
- "Fuck You"
- "It's OK"
If you were looking for "Forget You," I'm sure it's on the censored album. It's also a bonus b-side to this album, but who cares really. That's just so the song can get played on the radio. Otherwise, it works with the twisted themes and stories of the album that I still don't entirely get. I just know I liked it.