Monday, September 25th, 2017

Ne-Yo – Another Love Song

Another one…


Alfred Soto: Since peaking in 2008 he has galumphed from context to context in search of a grace that he wore as naturally as his hats. If I were Ne-Yo, I’d be furious that first Adam Levine and and now Bieber have co-opted the polyurethane, Swede-composed, post-Michael Jackson balladry he rode to the top of the charts. “Another Love Song” is almost not another Ne-Yo song, thanks to its formal poise. “Almost” carries a lot of water.

Ashley John: Ne-Yo cranked out hits and features for solid few years, and while I tended to enjoy them at the time, he’s certainly not an artist that one misses when he’s gone. “Another Love Song” follows in a similar pattern of being enjoyable while it’s playing and then forgettable within moments after. The track is solid enough that I can recognize it as Ne-Yo, but in 2017 I don’t think that carries much weight. 

Joshua Copperman: I have no doubt that this has been sitting on the shelf since 2010. For starters, it has a Dr. Luke credit.

Crystal Leww: Dr. Luke is desperately trying to reinvent himself into someone who can do these Nile Rodgers guitars, and Ne-Yo is willing to give him a chance at it. I’ve always thought Ne-Yo was one of the best R&B singers to achieve mainstream success. He was adaptable throughout the ’00s to whatever production style was popular at the time. “Another Love Song” is a fine song, but neither Ne-Yo’s vocal style nor his current brand recognition are suited for the times. This passes by while barely making an impact — cute, but you’d barely notice it playing in a Gap store.

Jibril Yassin: Ne-Yo is trying to do 2016 Justin Timberlake here, but on 2014 Dr. Luke production, he sounds more out of place than ever. It’s fine enough and checks off all the requisite boxes but it’s far too comfortable to really coax anything memorable out.

Maxwell Cavaseno: The ’06-’09 Ne-Yo run produced some of my favorite pop and R&B that I’ve been around to live through, so in essence I’m always going to have a certain soft spot for the guy who had the audacity to make the absurdly pretentious Libra Scale promo run try to work for him. (It didn’t.) Since then his career has sadly been pretty run-of-the-mill attempts at up-tempo R&B, soft sentimental ballads. He’s always been polite, which is the downfall of “Another Love Song,” because while I don’t want him to be the one who keeps acting like he needs to do too much (Chris Brown) or relish in goofy excess (Trey Songz), you end up feeling like everything he does here is… fine. Light post-MJ disco vibes, decent vocal. Its fun, unobtrusive, and pretty forgettable.

Patrick St. Michel: Sometimes simplicity works best. Ne-Yo goes for funk elasticity, a chorus that tries to stay cool but lets its giddiness crack through, and semi-meta lyrics that never indulge too much in their cleverness. That’s it! But that’s all it takes to produce a bubbly number easy to repeat.

Will Adams: Ne-Yo is far more convincing at selling this strain of Shrinky Dink disco than Adam Levine, but he can’t do much with a song this tired. It’s no surprise; the steep drop-off in Dr. Luke’s credits over the past few years has made his recent work sound both desperate and resigned. So much of this, from the title to the maybe-possibly Sisqo quote of “I think I’ll sing it again,” reinforce this idea, but even his better iterations of this style sound dated.

Nortey Dowuona: Ne-Yo slides in over the funky bassline, shimmering synth chords, glittering guitars and slick drums to serenade the woman that’s inspired him to sing another love song.

Katherine St Asaph: Ne-Yo’s songs work or don’t based solely on likability — his upcoming album’s even called Good Man. A shame, then, that “Another Love Song” engages in the pitfall of country: the idea that one becomes a gentleman through compliments, not intent. Certainly not an intent this oily, with a seen-it-all lothario conceit and an “ain’t got no game” line that is so game an AAA studio might as well be involved. Who actually is involved is Dr. Luke, another strike against likability. I can’t decide whether this is a desperate Max Martin rip, the ex-protege straining toward the former mentor’s new wavelength, or just a rip of “All For You.” Sure, Ne-Yo belongs on a Jackson-esque track more than plenty of others — much criticism has been made (if to little effect) about the charts shutting out women, but the likes of Ne-Yo, Usher, Trey Songz, Jeremih struggle for reliable hits, despite a dominant repro-Quincy Jones sound that’d seem to fit them. And it’s kind of cool, in a meta-geeky way, to turn “Thong Song,” a song with an elaborate intro, into one’s own elaborate intro. But none of this quite washes off the sleaze.

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