Ne-Yo - Because Of You

Posted 9 years ago
Tags: Ne-Yo,

Ne-Yo is the Micheal Jackson of a new generation… except he writes his own songs, doesn’t...

Because Of You Album Review

Ne-Yo is the Micheal Jackson of a new generation… except he writes his own songs, doesn’t really dance, and still has his original facial features. OK, so maybe he’s more like the Prince of a new generation… except without the tight pants, mystic symbols, and phallic guitar. What Shaffer Chimere Smith (a.k.a. Ne-Yo) does have in common with these two legends is a remarkable ability to craft songs so catchy even the hardest heads have to sing along. On his upcoming album Because of You, Ne-Yo serves up a platter of feel good songs that should give the songwriter/producer/singer irreplacable status in the game.

Complex samples and sweeping string orchestras are not Ne-Yo’s style; instead he relies on his sharp sense of melody and style. The title track and leading single Because of You is a perfect example of the kind of straightforward cut that has vaulted him to the front of the hit-maker line. Musically the track consists of a steady clap track, melodic piano line, and only small bass and guitar flourishes. Such minimal instrumentation doesn’t leave much to vocally hide behind, but Ne-Yo gladly accepts the spotlight. Christina Aguilera disease (the compulsion to hit every note in existence as often as possible) has afflicted scores of R&B singers, but Ne-Yo is apparently immune. His breathy and often falsetto vocal style is reminiscent of the King of Pop; he wants you to sing along with him, not stand in awe of his vocal power.

Ne-Yo is a storyteller at heart. Instead of lyrics that read like a list of every shiny object he owns, Because of You paints a picture of relationship struggles, late night hook-ups, and cheating hearts. Leaving Tonight is a classic back and forth duet with sensation Jennifer Hudson that details a man’s alleged cheating. It sounds like a scene from a movie, maybe even Dreamgirls 2. Leaving Tonight reveals one of the ironies of Ne-Yo’s songwriting; his tracks often sound better sung by women. Ne-Yo singing Irreplaceable comes across as borderline arrogant, but in the hands of Beyonce it’s a female empowerment anthem. The song Ain’t Thinking About You falls right in line with the Irreplaceable paradox. Ne-Yo capably carries the tightly crafted track, but you can’t help but think that Mary J. Blige would have absolutely killed it. Ne-Yo’s a good performer, maybe even very good, but his songs may need a more dynamically talented artist to make them great.

Because Of You isn’t a particularly danceable album; Ne-Yo doesn’t exactly pump out club bangers. The handful of songs that do get you moving
aren’t made for exclusive clubs, they’re for packed house parties and heated live shows full of people dripping sweat shoulder to shoulder. Sex With My Ex is a rock-accented song with a swaying and driving percussion guaranteed to get a crowd moving and features Ne-Yo doing a decent Prince impression, right down to his sweet than growling vocal style (take a wild guess what the song’s about). Addicted, another song that will have heads nodding is built around a funk-laced rhythm and blasting horns. The song’s a response to rumors that Ne-Yo has a sexual addiction, a rumor he denies with all the swagger and ego of a sex addict. These tracks are good enough, but Usher has nothing to worry about.

If you need a crossover smash you call Timbaland, for a club banger you hit up Pharell, and for an R&B anthem Ne-Yo’s your man. Because of You doesn’t have the depth to be an all-time classic, but it’s full of the kind of engaging melodies that make Ne-Yo one of the best in the game. Players may be bumpin’ Throw Some D’s out their speakers in the parking lot, but on the ride home alone they’re singing along to Ne-Yo, and there’s certainly no shame in that.

DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

Comments
Written by
Posted 9 years ago
Get The PLUG app by DJBooth and get the best hip-hop writing and news delivered daily.

Sample Text - Sample Link
0:00
3:00
Shrink
Hide

More from Ne-Yo

Featured Video

Hip Hop News

Joyner Lucas’ “I’m Sorry” Video Changed My Perspective on Suicide

The Massachusetts-bred emcee delivers one of the most gripping music videos of the year. Read More
Posted 41 minutes ago by Matteo Urella

Big Sean “Finishing” His Fourth Studio Album, Expectations Are High

A brand new album from the G.O.O.D. Music emcee appears ticketed for a late 2016 release. Read More
Posted about 2 hours ago by DJ Z

Isaiah Rashad: “I’m Making a Mixtape Nobody Will Ever Hear”

On the eve of his sophomore album release, the TDE emcee teases another project. Read More
Posted 17 hours ago by DJ Z

Big Boi Announces Collabo EP with Killer Mike, Let’s Get Excited

The two have collaborated multiple times, but never on a full project. This is huge. Read More
Posted 18 hours ago by Brent Bradley

Kanye Made a Poem About McDonald’s, WTF Does it Mean?

Kanye has taken some weird artistic turns in the past, but a poem about McDonald’s just begs to be investigated. Read More
Posted 20 hours ago by Brent Bradley

Frank Ocean “Blond/Blonde” 1 Listen Album Review

Frank Ocean's long-awaited new studio album is his most adventurous project to date. Read More
Posted 21 hours ago by Yoh

TRENDING NOW



Flame

TOP 20 MUSIC CHARTS


Discover the best new songs, videos, and albums added to the Booth.