Ne-Yo is back with his sixth album ‘Non-Fiction’; not that he’s let you forget him since 2012’s ‘Red’.
He’s sung on a number of dance tracks in the intervening years, so it’s understandable that on ‘Non-Fiction’ he spends a lot of time showcasing his R&B roots.
Tracks like ‘Integrity’, ‘One More’ and ‘Many Can’t Buy’ are all very classily produced; one might almost call them classic ‘Ne-Yo’ as they hark back to his career best ‘Year Of The Gentleman’.
He does spice things up occasionally, such as on the hip-hop inspired ‘Run’ and the trap inspired ‘She Knows’. The latter is essentially Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ part two, complete with the same producer (Dr. Luke) and guest rapper (Juicy J).
The first Australian single ‘Coming With You’ is far better. You could almost imagine Katy B singing on it but Ne-Yo’s soulful vocals provide an interesting contract to the euro-pop backing track.
Elsewhere there are a few obvious skips; ‘Good Morning’ is pure filler, ‘Time Of Our Lives’ would be better without its principal artist (Pitbull), and where do we start with ‘Story Time’?? It’s an acoustic number about pressuring one’s girlfriend into a threesome. It’s so awkward though, that it comes off more Lonely Island than Ne-Yo.
At least they’ve put on ‘Ballerina’ to end proceedings on a high note. The piano ballad is Ne-Yo by numbers, but that’s exactly what we needed to regain our sanity after ‘Story Time’. Whilst we readily can admit that we’d hate any artist to deliver an album of ballads, ‘Ballerina’ proves to be Ne-Yo’s strongest card.
An album of songs like ‘Closer’ and ‘Ballerina’ would really be something wouldn’t it?
Download : Coming With You, Ballerina.