Donell Jones had already made a name for himself, writing for the likes of Usher, Jade, and Madonna, when his debut album My Heart hit stores in the summer of 1996. Jones’s debut featured the hit singles “In The Hood,” “You Should Know,” and his cover of the timeless Stevie Wonder classic “Knocks Me Off My Feet.” Furthermore, two of the album tracks, the slow jams “No Interruptions” and “I Want You To Know,” are better songs than some folk’s entire discographies that entered the music game in the last twenty years.
Second Listen Sunday : Ne-Yo, 3 Simple Rules
At the tail end of 2021, Ne-Yo slowly crept back into music with the release of two singles, “What If,” and the Young Bleu assisted “Stay Down.” While neither song particularly caught my interest when Valentine’s Day approached, I decided to revisit the surprise EP that the singer gifted fans with on February 14, 2014.
Carrying the title 3 Simple Rules, the project was an instructional manual for the rules of love. The singer opens the project with “New Love,” where the lyric begins with Ne-Yo crooning about how his love makes him feel like a doo-wop song. Ne-Yo sounds excellent, and the song explains the new rules of keeping love.
“Bigger Than This” is the second song and finds the singer providing a track for when it’s time to apologize. Ne-Yo opens the song stating, “Rule number two, Understand that what you have is bigger than this.” Ne-Yo effortlessly strays the line between pop music and his R&B roots with ease on this track. The lyrics are reminiscent of the 2004-esque Ne-Yo, in terms of writing.
“I’m sorry for the wrong that I did, why can’t we just get over it
This ain’t right, were bigger than this bigger than this, stupid fight
Baby girl were bigger than this bigger than this
Staying mad at me for eternity what’s that gonna fix?
So baby, can we try? Cause what we got is so much bigger than this.”
No Ne-Yo project is complete without something for the bedroom, which is the theme of the EP’s third song, “Gotchu Right.” Ne-Yo opens the song with the lyrics, “Rule number three, the most important rule: No matter what, you must always – get her right.” Over the track, Ne-Yo casually boasts about getting things right for that special someone during a session of intimacy.
The lyrics and the vibe are self-explanatory, and in all honesty, the song would be a hit for another artist. Ne-Yo closes the project with an outro where he pleads his affection for his lady. In my opinion, the outro is better than some albums already released in 2022. Outside of his die-hard fan base, 3 Simple Rules rarely receives mention. So, if you’ve never heard the EP, it’s one of the signer’s more substantial offerings from the latter part of his career.
Final Grade: A
3 Simple Rules is available to stream here : https://soundcloud.com/compound-entertainment/sets/ne-yo-3-simple-rules
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