Ne-Yo – Libra Scale
2 stars out of 5
Review written by FirstGentleman
To paraphrase author T.S. Elliot: “Immature artists imitate; mature artists steal; bad artists deface what they take and good artists make it into something better, or at least something different.” Based on this reading of Mr. Eillot, it is easy to see what category Ne-Yo falls into with this album. Since the beginning of his solo career (before becoming Ne-Yo, he was calling himself “Go-Go” *side eye like a mugg*), his music had drawn comparisons to Michael Jackson’s classic period, and prior to his death, Ne-Yo was working on new music with him. It seems like all that hero worship has gone awry on his new album Libra Scale.
“Champagne Life” starts off the album; it’s a blatant attempt at Michael Jackson pop a la “Human Nature”. It comes off a little bit like Pharell’s “Fronting” and I to be honest I prefer Pharell’s song over this. The next three songs bored me to tears, and range from the boring and drawn out (“Making A Movie”, which sounds like it could have been a left over from a Ryan Leslie album), to the comic book confusion of “Telekinesis”. A sample lyric from the latter is “let me touch you without touching you” Huh? Sir, you must be on that Jean Grey Goose or something because I have NO clue what you’re talking about!
The second half of the album picks up a little speed, but not much. “Crazy Love” has a nice flow to it and Fabolous drops a verse as well. If Ne-Yo was smart he’d make it a single because quite frankly everything else won’t catch on. It seems Ne-Yo is grasping at straws on “One In A Million” — he recites some sort of spoken word rap over the Truth Hurts’ “Addictive” beat. It really is laughable and sad at the same time.
“Cause I Said So” seems like an ode to Prince. I can just imagine the Purple One giving the ultimate side eye of death to Ne-Yo like he did to Trey Songz at the EBT Card awards. All around this song is a disaster; a weak bassline, a cheesy 80’s melody and it sounds like he has Pharrell doing background vocals. #iCant and you shouldn’t either! The most obvious Michael Jackson retread song is “Beautiful Monster,” which doesn’t work for me. Not quite “Thriller,” not quite interesting enough for me to care, and that video is a cheap kung fu movie filmed on a green screen with some gay pride dancers.
I can see how this album started out — a homage to the one who inspired him, lofty concepts, cool synthesizers and a slight euro-dance pop feel. On paper, it seems like this would have been a great album, but I got worried when I started reading and watching interviews. He talked about his alter-ego named Jerome (who is obviously really good friends with Sasha Fierce), his love of science fiction, and his zodiac sign. There was an amazing lack of focus and it showed. Good artists can make bad albums and this is Ne-Yo’s bad album. This Libra Scale is unbalanced.