Following his 2010 release “Libra Scale,” Ne-Yo returns with the album “R.E.D.” The album is a deeper look into Ne-Yo than other albums have showed. Ne-Yo was the subject of complaints after his previous release. Some claim that Ne-Yo has lost touch with his R&B roots; “R.E.D.” is Ne-Yo’s answer to his critics.
The album begins with a song that encompasses its united spirit. “Cracks in Mr. Perfect” is Ne-Yo’s declaration of his faults. He admits to indulging in the flashy life style and admits that he does not regret his decisions. This song stood out from the album due to the honesty that came through the lyrics. The song shows maturity in Ne-Yo that continues throughout the album. His versatility was in full display on this album. Song such as “Lazy Love” and “Let Me Love You” infuse elements of pop that Ne-Yo handles very well.
Ne-Yo shows us his mature side along with the style that was memorable in his previous works. “Miss Right,” “Stress Reliever” and “Jealous” are all R&B through and through. The song “Stress Reliever” stands out among the songs as the track with the strongest R&B influence. Ne-Yo displays something that some artists lack in the production of their music. As the rest of the album continues Ne-Yo showcases his ability to adapt to the changing styles. Even with this commitment to adapt, Ne-Yo does not compromise his personal style. This is what makes the attempt truly successful. Though features are sparse Wiz Khalifa makes an appearance on “Don’t Make Em Like You.” This song, as well as “Be The One,” will definitely appeal to the mainstream audience as well as Ne-Yo fans. The shift to techno/dance style pop songs can be the demise of some but Ne-Yo handles it well.
A surprise on the album was the feature from country star Tim McGraw. McGraw and Ne-Yo come together for an acoustic ballad. The song “She Is” is perfect for both artists and they work together well. The rest of the album continues with a good mix of R&B and pop. Ne-Yo is not afraid of mixing different influences in his music. Not every song is a success in these attempts, but the rewards outweigh the risks. Another song that will find a home on the radio is the single “Forever Now.” The last track on the album “Unconditional” is a strong ballad with pop influences. This is one of the strongest tracks on the album and it is fitting as a finale.
Ne-Yo returned with an air of the past with this release. Ne-Yo puts forth an album worth recognition, not only holding true to his personal style but by embracing change. This album cannot be considered a disappointment. Ne-Yo took the risks and they paid out.