Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Cee-lo Green – Anyway

Opportunistic album re-release? It’s disco time!


Jer Fairall: In which the loveable nerd of “Fuck You” becomes an aloof, negligent lout and yet chooses this as the time to start commanding respect. With a chorus and a proto-disco beat this lazy, though, he has little cause to expect much.

Alfred Soto: In which Cee-Lo discovers Daft Punk and too many old R&B lyrics for my taste.

Katherine St Asaph: Cee-Lo’s apparently jumped the shark, as Lex predicted. The Lady Killer killed itself by retro and overexposure, and whenever I speak well of “Fuck You” or “Bright Lights, Bigger City,” or deign to play either on, I’m the office nemesis that everyone’s secretly thinking has horrible taste. It’s sad; the album’s good. “Anyway,” a re-issue track, isn’t quite so good. It’s merely Cee-Lo and Rivers Cuomo nudging the retromania up a decade, and Cee-Lo’s voice sounds much better husky than when shoved though the skree-filter for the chorus. But the verses count for something. So does their singer.

Anthony Easton: Cee-Lo Green has perfected this generation’s soul breakdown, and this does it as good as he ever has.  I love the writing, the small journalistic details merging into giant fluffy choruses (do you guys know that Kanye’s ex is advertising a marshmallow vodka called Fluffer now–this track is sort of like that, but you know classy)

Jonathan Bogart: You… are you serious? Cee-Lo doing his best Bee Gees? You know I can’t put up any kind of serious analytical resistance to this, don’t you? Oh, no, you didn’t just pull a squiggling synth descent, did you? Come on, song. That’s just fighting dirty.

Brad Shoup: Celestial disco and an indelible hook trying to put over braindead sexual politics? All I hear are the politics. It sounds like a mashup of Foster the People and a sociopath’s voicemail. Look, it’s great that we’ve got our token love-gnome, but Green’s been coasting on goodwill for too long. I really don’t want to be that dude, but his Goodie Mob work and his first couple solo records were nimble, imaginative, and loose. But ever since he grabbed the brass ring with Danger Mouse, it’s been a collective cuddlefest. “Fuck You!” pulled some unseemly faces to an arrangement as unsophisticated as his chagrin; “Cry Baby” ditched the faces in favor of somnambulant wedding-band Motown. The man’s an engaging singer (even as he’s pared down his vocal approaches for poptimum appeal), and I admire his newfound willingness to mix a little alt-rock in his R&B, to say nothing of his love of spectacle. But this second act is a career built for television.

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