Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The Lady Killer is the third solo album by American recording artist Cee Lo Green, released November 5, 2010 on Elektra Records. Production for the album was handled by Salaam Remi, ELEMENT, The Smeezingtons, Fraser T. Smith, Paul Epworth, and Jack Splash during 2009 to 2010.
The album debuted at number nine on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 41,000 copies in its first-week. It achieved respectable chart success elsewhere and produced two singles, including the international hit "Fuck You!". The Lady Killer received general acclaim from most music critics, earning praise for its production, classicist soul music approach, and Green's singing.
"When you've a voice as powerful as Atlanta-born Thomas Callaway's, it's not going to stay unheard for too long. As Cee-Lo - with or without the Green - Callaway has moulded himself into a chart-topping artist. But success has been far from immediate. Three albums with Goodie Mob in the 90s and a debut solo disc of 2002 were overlooked by British listeners; his second fared better, but was more of a niche concern that a genuine mainstream contender. Fame arrived withGnarls Barkley, though - Callaway's hook-up with Danger Mouse produced the global smash-hit Crazy in 2006, and ever since his whirlwind of a voice has been tearing up charts worldwide.
With Gnarls Barkley on hold as Danger Mouse works with Broken Bells, the time is perfect for Cee-Lo's solo return. And the start to this record's life could not have been better: lead single Forget You, also here in its foul-mouthed version, topped the British singles chart in the summer. It's a one-dimensional account of a lover straying due to material attachments, suitably cliché-riddled; but Callaway's voice is such a potent device that the song becomes an addictive anthem to middle-finger salutes of all varieties.
Brilliantly, it's nowhere near the best track on The Lady Killer. Please rolls to a jazzy trip hop beat, Callaway's opening exclamation of feeling tired through chasing the dream soaked in the kind of sincerity that the majority of today's pop stars - those produced by the machine, rather than raised on passion - can only dream of. There's so much experience in this voice, so many lost hours, so much unachieved. He's getting there, but the slow process is taking its toll; optimism is always kept in check by the nagging sense that the rug could be pulled from under at any second.
I Want You is another slow jam, which for all its glitter possesses a melancholic centre - Callaway sighs that the "thrill is gone", so now he must escape to rebuild himself, and his relationships, from the bottom up. Old Fashioned feels just that, but in a wonderful way - a gently swinging affair with sumptuous female backing vocals. Cry Baby sings of desire, but also exposes its protagonist's shortcomings as the root cause of any obstacle between should-be partners. And Fool for You is the closest an artist of today will come to capturing the magic that made Marvin Gaye such a captivating talent. Throughout, a rich seam of Motown and Chess influences runs for all to hear. With material of a standard to match his fantastic pipes, here Callaway has crafted his finest Cee-Lo long-player yet." - BBC
"If Cee Lo Green's new solo album sounds calculated to generate hits and appeal to the widest possible audience, at the expense of his usual freewheeling inventiveness, that's because, without any attempt to disguise the fact, it is. In a recent interview, the singer explained that he had reined in his more outre creative urges on The Lady Killer in order to achieve the megastardom he feels has been eluding him. "For too long I've been underground and underdog," he said. "This should not be a kamikaze mission."
His gambit, accordingly, has been to release a song about betrayal, bitterness and financial inadequacy entitled "Fuck You". This might seem gloriously misguided to anyone who doesn't remember "Crazy", the eerie Gnarls Barkley number about mental instability that Green, with his super-sized vocal talent, turned into a worldwide smash in 2006. Sure enough, "Fuck You" is one of this year's most uplifting releases, with a chorus that makes you want to punch the air and imprecate cheerfully at total strangers. It spent two weeks at number one in the UK last month and has already scored more than 17 million hits on YouTube.
The success of Gnarls Barkley, Green's collaboration with uber-producer Danger Mouse, appears to have galvanised the one-time rapper, who made his name with Atlanta, Georgia, outfit Goodie Mob in the 90s. His first two solo albums, released in 2002 and 2004, were adventurous mishmashes, expanding out of hip-hop into soul, R&B and the freakier regions of funk. The only constrained thing about them was their commercial appeal.
On this new album, the 36-year-old has expunged all trace of hip-hop so he can focus almost entirely on radio-friendly soul. Helping him spruce up his act is a heavyweight team of pop producers including Salaam Remi and Paul Epworth. Green's new persona, according to the album's intro, will be a sort of weaponised Barry White: "When it comes to ladies," he rumbles over faux-Bond theme music, "I have a licence to kill."
Thankfully, his eccentricities have survived the purge and this is by no means the straightforward lover-man record it purports to be. More often than not, Green is grappling with rejection (on "Fuck You" and "It's OK"), loneliness (on "Please") or those unsexy moments when the thrill of romance has seeped away. His response to this last, on "I Want You", is brilliantly unexpected given his supposed lady-killer credentials: "I want you to run away with me and experience something new," he tells his deflated lover, proposing a trip to a remote island to revive her spirits. "Oh I'll even quit my job," he hollers. "Loving you, I'll make it my job."
It helps that Green can make even the most crushing situations sound festive, as on "Fuck You" (or "Forget You", the cannily expurgated version). But the party atmosphere does let up: the album's most arresting moment is a noir-ish murder ballad called "Bodies", with skeletal production from Chad Hugo of the Neptunes.
There are just two moments of straight-up, undiluted celebration here: "Bright Lights Bigger City", a perfectly serviceable ode to the joys of Saturday nights on the town; and "Satisfied", which Tom Jones in his prime might have deemed unacceptably exuberant. The album's only major misstep, it hints what The Lady Killer could have been if Cee Lo had really tried to make a conventional record. Luckily, his idiosyncrasies have proven too potent to repress. When the next album comes around, his burgeoning fan-base should know what to expect." - Guardian
Mojo (Publisher) (p.96) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's Green's pitch-perfect delivery, his ability to switch from sublimely giddy pop to earnest moments of heartache and convince utterly in both instances, that make THE LADY KILLER a treasure."
Paste (magazine) - "With THE LADY KILLER, Cee Lo Green is out for blood. Track after track, he triumphs."
Clash (magazine) - "As attempts at storming the mainstream go, this looks like a surefire winner..."
Uncut (magazine) (p.86) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A]nother demonstration not only of the remarkable power of his voice, but also his emotional range."
Personnel: Graham Marsh (programming).
Photographer: Julian Broad.
After reuniting his original group, Goodie Mob, to play dates around the country in 2010, Cee-Lo Green recorded his third proper solo album. The Lady Killer features an ongoing dose of his unique take on soul, pop, and hip-hop in the 21st century, highlighted by the summery single "I Want You."
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