For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
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
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
As we continue to celebrate the month of love, I chose “Valentine by Ryan Leslie as the second song with the word valentine for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. Leslie broke into the music industry in 2003, writing hits for Beyoncé and New Edition. Leslie released the singles “The Way That U Move Girl” and “Used 2 Be” featuring Fabolous. However, his debut album was never officially released due to creative differences with his record label. In late 2007, Leslie finally broke through with the bop “Diamond Girl,” and his self-titled album would finally hit record stores on February 10, 2009. Leslie also succeeded with the follow-up singles “Addiction” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” Surprisingly, though, Leslie didn’t drop “Valentine” as the fourth single, which would have timed perfectly with the album release date.