"The Lady Killer" by Cee Lo Green

Cee Lo Green
The Lady Killer

Elektra
2010

Review

I wonder if the people who only know of Cee-Lo because of the way that alternative radio embraced Gnarles Barkley will branch out to like songs like the ones on this album? I have my doubts. I don't see many of the tracks crossing over the same way "Crazy" or "Fuck You" did which is why I am surprised to hear so many New Jack and classic Soul songs on this particular album. In a world that only cares about individual hits and not complete albums, I fear many of these tracks are bound to miss the ears of many fans.

"I'm not above the law and I'm not lawless, but when it comes to ladies I've got a license to Kill" - Cee-Lo Green on "The Lady Killer Theme".

Cee-Lo Green loves him some classic Soul, James Bond Inspired Horns, and of course those "New Jack" style R&B songs that were popular in the late 80's and early 90's - from Johnny Kemp's "Just Got Paid" being filtered through "Billie Jean" on "Bright Lights Bigger City" or the "Sugar Pie Honeybunch" influence on "It's Ok". What you have here is an awesome blend of these particular Soul music sub-genres that is always entertaining.

Naturally what got people's attention was "Fuck You". Oh man, the audacity of this song is incredible. The fact that it works without the curse words is testament to the quality of the song. Of course, the fact that this version exists in the first place makes all other versions irrelevant. Has there ever been a more ostentatiousness kiss-off song? It's strange to hear a song so in the vein of classic Soul that has the king of the expletives. This makes me smile and there is plenty more in this vein on the album as well. "Bodies" is another excellent song on the album that excels by being a really, really good R&B song. But my favorite song on this collection of excellent songs has to be "I Want You" on which Cee-Lo finds his inner Hall and Oates. This song soars. It's what Cee-Lo needs to be on...for some reason I thought of Keith Sweat doing a much more terrible, but just as listenable version of this song.

Speaking of the 80's influence, many of the songs seem very late 80's to me. Songs like "Wildflower", "Bright Lights Big City", and "Love Gun" fall into this category. As a fan of the 80's, it's always nice to hear new songs that recall that era. Cee-Lo does this quite well on this album with the New Jack sound in the same way that Broken Bells did it for Hall and Oates-like Pop-Rock.

This is an excellent Soul music album that fans of cheesy New Jack as well as classic Soul will love. I'm not so sure of the crossover appeal of most of this though as it does stick pretty close to the genre trappings. "It's OK' is the other song aside from "Fuck You" that has a chance as it has enough cross-over appeal to be the next single with a Danger Mouse-style new-retro sort of feel to it. But fans of good music will latch on to this with no problems - just like they have for most of what Cee-Lo Green has put out in his many incarnations (from Goodie Mob to Gnarles Barkley to the Solo records). I just hope he moves enough units (not tracks, but full albums) to keep doing his thing.

3.571 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. The Lady Killer Theme (intro) (01:37)
2. Bright Lights Bigger City (03:38) 4
3. Fuck You (03:42) 5
4. Wildflower (04:03) 4
5. Bodies (03:44) 5
6. Love Gun (feat. Lauren Bennett) (03:20) 4
7. Satisfied (03:24) 3
8. I Want You (03:36) 5
9. Cry Baby (03:27) 4
10. Fool for You (feat. Philip Bailey) (03:40) 4
11. It's OK (03:46) 5
12. Old Fashioned (03:25) 3
13. No One's Gonna Love You (03:29) 4
14. The Lady Killer Theme (outro) (00:58)