Every track is a sonic delight that underscores Lo's lyrics, a musical attack that is, not coincidentally, grounded in the cadences of the church. Equally expressive as a rapper and as a singer, Green's rasp plays call-and-response with organ and choir, and his rolling arrangements and surprisingly subtle phrasing lift off with gospel thrust -- whether he's testifying to his hard-won faith and maturity (as on "Gettin' Grown") or to his sheer horniness (the useless-to-resist first single, "Closet Freak"). On "One for the Road," a stunning, funny display of his mic skills, Cee-Lo places his "Atomic Dog" bark over an irresistible rhythm track: Piano, harp and Bacharach brass intertwine with bass drum, hi-hat and handclaps -- all mixed in a way that leaves enough space between the beats for a real human being to live and breathe. "Yassuh," he shouts repeatedly on "Live (Right Now)," as squalling rock guitars transform that expression of shuffling servitude into a plea for each of us, individually and collectively, to achieve our human potential.
Indeed, Green stands out precisely because he aspires to ideals larger than himself -- to goals more substantial than those promoted by today's cynical propagandists of bling-bling materialism. "These wings that I was given were intended to fly," he cries on the inspiring "El Dorado Sunrise (Super Chicken)." No doubt. On his solo debut, Cee-Lo Green positively soars.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.