Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Ne-Yo – Beautiful Monster

I’m guessing the URL of his official site will change, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it…


Katherine St Asaph: There’s been something curiously submissive about Ne-Yo’s output for awhile, so I suppose this is the logical next step: making himself into prey (is he really singing “beautiful mother” in the chorus, and do I want to read into that?). This mostly works. Ne-Yo’s always been an effective singer, and Stargate’s production seethes and recedes like it must — the a cappella is particularly well-deployed. It’s creepy enough to sit nicely with today’s pack of troubled dance-pop, with its rude boys (more Stargate) in disturbia saying oh my gosh because there’s no getting over you. All that said, it’s a bit hollow; Ne-Yo’s monster doesn’t seem made of blood and claws but of CGI. It’d help if he didn’t spell out that he is, in fact, both turned on and scared.

Al Shipley: This sounds much like “Closer” did to me the first few times: monotonously brooding, uncomfortably dancey, and lacking a memorable hook. A few months later, “Closer” had become my favorite single of the year, but I can’t imagine warming to “Beautiful Monster” the same way.

Chuck Eddy: I keep thinking this is about Lady Gaga, but there’s no denying its beautifulness. Ne-Yo makes it look so easy. But it must not be, because as far as I can tell, in current r&b, nobody else even comes close to what he’s been doing the past few years. Given the shit-for-brains infantilism of so many young males in the r&b playground, I’m almost amazed he isn’t just dismissed as a wuss.

Jonathan Bogart: The gleaming chill of Ne-Yo’s music, with its sleek straight lines and stark, pulsing throbs, is one of the best sounds that pop radio’s been dealing over the past several years. This is up to his usual standard, and maybe a little over; the lyric strikes an unusual balance between condemnation and affection, and his cool, unflappable performance tips the scales.

Alex Macpherson: A year ago, I would never have guessed that I’d be able to say of a Ne-Yo lead single that it’s a less interesting, less involved and less convincing retread of terrain that Lady Gaga has already ploughed. And post-Rated R, that wimpy quasi-dubstep bassline just ain’t cutting it.

Martin Skidmore: This is very good. Ne-Yo is one of my favourite male R&B stars, and some of the vocals and harmonies here are exceptionally effective (though I don’t care for the way he sings “monster” at all). The pulsing, bassy house backing by Stargate is a great ground for this, atmospheric and propulsive. I could listen to hours more of his repeated “I don’t mind”s.

Alfred Soto: He sounds like Michael Jackson — what else is new? But he does for masochism what Jacko did for paranoia — that is, revel in it because it’s the only emotion they understand as much as their faith in their considerable songcraft. Accepting this simple truth has unshackled Stargate from its straitjacket, and liberated Ne-Yo to push his vocals so confidently that he pretends the sequencers exist to harmonize with. This gets better with each play.

Hillary Brown: I guess I can kind of see why Ne-Yo ended up performing this song himself rather than passing it on to someone else: I’m not sure who else would want it. Weird slice of cheese that it is, it also manages to be fairly boring at the same time, which is kind of impressive.

4 Responses to “Ne-Yo – Beautiful Monster”

  1. Verse melody reminds me of “Wayfarin’ Stranger“; so maybe this is as close as Ne-Yo gets to country.

  2. this chorus is so absurd that i find it hard to take this song seriously

  3. agreed, it’s the “byoo TEEE full monnnnnnsterrrrr” that turns me off too. That “TEEE” just drives me nuts.

  4. and Frank also on point: this could easily be a country track with a minimum of finesse. I’d love to see more crossover R&B/country covers and vice versa.