Cee Lo Green’s new album The Lady Killer is the perfect party record. Like Green himself, it’s big and bold – a mix between a James Bond soundtrack and a classic 60s Motown record, with a hint of the inventiveness you’d expect from one half of Gnarls Barkley.
The character Green has created in the The Lady Killer gets his introduction in, appropriately enough, the “The Lady Killer Theme” intro, and his voice threads through each song on the album. He’s at his most playful in “Fuck You,” the first single off the record and a story in itself. It’s a pop masterpiece.
The official music video for it was released on September 1. Since then, it’s had over 31 million views. Before that, they released a lyrics-only video, and that’s already up over 8 million views. The single topped out at number 9 in the Billboard Hot 100, an impressive showing. It’s also one of the most engaging videos I’ve seen in years.
The album was released on November 9. It’s an album that feels like there was some thought given to the sequencing. There’s a deliberate beginning and a satisfying end to the listen.
There are a couple of stand out songs besides “Fuck You.” “Bright Lights Bigger City” starts with a great synth intro, quickly followed by a bass line that reminds you of something else, and a nice string part. The song really bounces, and I’m picturing it going over really well at a middle school dance from when I was a kid.
“Bodies” could almost be a Gnarls Barkley song. It’s about dead bodies. In his bed. The creepy topic is overshadowed by Green’s ethereal vocal delivery and the unique arrangement. Then there’s “Love Gun.” After I got over the disappointment of this not being a cover of the Kiss song, I was drawn in by the production that makes it sound like a movie theme song. It has the feel of Shirley Bassey doing “Goldfinger,” with Lauren Bennett doing the vocal.
“No One’s Gonna Love You” rounds out the album, leading into the outro. It’s a great pop ballad. Like most of the songs on The Lady Killer, it’s got tasteful string and horn arrangements, with solid bass and drum interaction propelling the song forward and making you want to move.
The whole album has a flow that just works. It’s full of tastefully arranged strings and horns. It’s the portrait of a crooner, a songwriter, and perhaps a visionary. Certainly a presence and a character comes through the album. Not all the songs are standouts, but enough of them are to make this record a fun listen from beginning to end. The Lady Killer begs to be played loudly, in sequence, with the car windows rolled down. It’s a nice solo showing from someone perhaps better known for his work in Gnarls Barkley and his guest spots on hip hop tracks like Outkast’s “Slum Beautiful.”
Video: Cee Lo Green – “Fuck You”
Video: Cee Lo Green – “It’s Ok”