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Exclusive: Ne-Yo – ‘Libra Scale’ Album Preview

Published: Friday 9th Jul 2010 by Sam

That Grape Juice was in the house at London’s swanky ‘Hospital’ venue last night (July 8th) for Ne-Yo’s exclusive ‘Libra Scale’ listening session.

Hosted by the man himself, 6 tracks from the album (his fourth) were showcased to the audience of select UK media outlets.

Check out our take on what the singer-songwriter is serving up this go round…

Prior to the album’s playback, a personable and witty Ne-Yo outlined a short-story, the narrative of which is threaded through each of the LP’s songs (and will be depicted in their accompanying videos)

The story centres on misadventures of ‘The Gentleman’, a trio consisting of Clyde, Leroy, and Jerome (played by Ne-Yo).  After encountering a mysterious figure, the ‘men are granted everything they could ever want – money, fame, cars, girls…and superpowers; the only catch being that they cannot fall in love.

For Clyde and Leroy, this proves to be an easy pre-condition to adhere to. However, it is Ne-Yo’s character, Jerome, who finds this a daunting task, after falling for Pretty Sinclair – a vivacious no nonsense stunner.

Having finally captured Sinclair’s heart, Jerome sleeps with her – only for her to suffer an adverse reaction after contracting a strain of his super-powers. This effectively drives her crazy, transforming her into a monster named ‘Diamond Eye’, who sets about destroying the Gotham-like city.

Disappointed in Jerome, the mysterious figure re-appears to offer him one of two options –  allow Diamond Eye AND Pretty Sinclair to  die, and the city is saved or Pretty Sinclair lives, all the damage Diamond Eye has done is reversed, but Jerome must die. We’re left with Jerome weighing up the decision on a ‘Libra Scale’…hence the album’s title.

Following?! Even I’m surprised I remembered all of that. More on my take on the story after the song previews…

Champagne Life

One In A Million:

Led by a hypnotic, tribal beat this resonated well with all in attendance. The hard-hitting production, which is a welcome departure from Ne-Yo’s established sound, was complimented by his trademark harmonies. The lady at the heart of the song is serenaded with lines such as “one thing is for certain…only you can do what you do”. Great track!

She Is:

The most markedly Pop / Crossover of the selection of tracks played, ‘She Is’ also serves as the song with the most commercial potential. Very reminiscent of previous hits such as ‘Mad’ – whether that’s a good or bad thing is down to interpretation. Lyrics include “now I’m in love and I didn’t want to be…all because of she.”

Cause I Said So:

Undeniably the standout song of the night, this 70’s funk-inspired cut is just screaming for the single treatment. With its pulsating production and all-round hotness, there’s no doubt this is destined for the dance-floor. Hot, hot, hot! Lyrics for the track, which he deemed Pretty Sinclair’s theme-tune, include “she could reach inside your chest, pull out your soul”

Beautiful Monster

What Have I Done:

As with most collection of tracks, not all can be winners, cue ‘What Have I Done’. This early Michael Jackson-inspired number is an album-cut at best, and certainly left us asking him the same question after listening to it. Filler.

———————————–

‘Libra Scale’ certainly boasts an intriguing and ambitious concept, which Ne-Yo should be commended for when considering the sameness’ of the music industry of today. What’s more, musically, he remains ever consistent (save for a few tracks).

However, the album’s story risks making the material come up short due to its lack of lyrical vividness or explicitness. By that, I mean – Ne-Yo informed us at the start of the playback that he was inspired by Michael Jackson’s out-of-the-box concepts to do something different. Yet unlike Jackson, he serves up little in the vein of ‘Annie are you ok?!’ or “the kid is not my son” – lyrics which forced listeners to create ‘imaginary worlds’ and replay the lyrics – as if they were there – in their heads. Rather, it feels as though he’s presenting a collection of (albeit good songs), which are largely about the same treaded-on subject matter (living the life, love etc), and tying them together with an interesting, yet somewhat  confused story.

Still, a commendable effort, which has us anticipating the album in its entirety.

Your thoughts?

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Comments 21

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  1. LAVISH July 9, 2010

    HE’S A GREAT ARTIST, WRITER, PRODUCER!!!!!

  2. nothing but my opinion July 9, 2010

    cant wait to hear it!

  3. Yours Truely July 9, 2010

    *blankstare*

    SO Neyo is SERIOUS about his new direction huh?

    Nope no thanks ….I’ll pass…I’ll prefer these young kids to allow R Kelly be the story teller of generation

  4. Tavi July 9, 2010

    EVERYONE CHECK OUT MY NEW DANCE VIDEO!! PLZZ COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE AND PASS IT ON!!!!

  5. royalkev July 9, 2010

    I think Ne-yo is trying way to hard to convince us that he’s the new generations MJ. I think he should focus on being a new Ne-yo and reinvent himself. I think he’s trying to capture something from the 80’s and redo Thriller and Billie Jean like concepts. The story does sound very complex and hard to take to. He should leave that up to great video making. If it’s not spelled out in the music or easy to identify in his work visually, you can’t force it down anyone’s throat. I give him credit for really putting the thought into this, but it seems forced and I don’t think this is a time for Ne-yo to lose anymore fans.

  6. ~AalexisR~ The Summer King (The Bahamas) July 9, 2010

    Can’t wait!

  7. Truthfully July 9, 2010

    Oh the story seems very interesting….that is a hard choice to make and will see about the songs sometimes u guys praise songs that aint that good…..just saying but i like ne-yo some what so will see what his album will turn out like.

  8. nickalus Randle July 10, 2010

    NE-YO albums get better, & better, so I CANT WAIT, LOVE THIS GUY!

  9. likeCAESAR July 10, 2010

    I dig the music…but damn someone get him a mask. He is hella ugly #nohomo. LOL

  10. Luv-Lee July 10, 2010

    I like that he takes risks. He said that he was bored with r&b so he is trying to make it exciting. Thank you for the originality and stepping out side the box. Ne-Yo is not trying to be a gimmick with crazy outfits and s***. He is trying to flex his creative muscle and I have to respect that. Even Michael Jackson said that Ne-yo is someone who really understands song-writing. I guess thats why Michael wanted to work with Ne-Yo.

  11. geronimo deuces July 10, 2010

    i just dont like this dude…..

  12. beep July 12, 2010

    great!!!!!. Ne-yo im sick of u writing for other artists, they need to do it for them selves.

  13. aqss hole July 12, 2010

    he needs a hit

  14. Olyve maina July 27, 2010

    Ne-yo ROCKS!cnt wait 2 listen 2 his album.mmmwaaah!

  15. J_ Nova October 5, 2010

    What have I done is NOT a filler. Joint is hottttttt

  16. Albert November 24, 2010

    WOW. ARE YOU KIDDING? What Have I Done called filler? Just wow……. It’s easily one of the best tracks on this album.

  17. Sonia January 2, 2011

    I’m actually enjoying this CD. I love ‘what have I done?
    Ne-Yo’s story line i didn’t follow I made up my own. But I still hear a lot of MJ.
    But You can take it on a long road trip.

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