Ne-Yo, Self - Explanatory
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Derrick Dunn

Album Review: Ne-Yo, Self – Explanatory

After numerous delays and title changes, R&B singer Ne-Yo returns with his latest project, Self-Explanatory. Due to the COVID pandemic, Ne-Yo had to put the project on the back burner despite releasing singles for the project going to 2020. Thankfully the horrid OT Genesis assisted “Pinky Ring,” a song that I have in Ne Yo’s what were you thinking pile, doesn’t make an appearance.

However, “U 2 Luv,” his infectious duet with Jeremih that saw release during the heyday of COVID 19 quarantine, does show up, and it still sounds fresh. For album number eight, Ne-Yo could have easily repeated the same route he did with “U 2 Luv,” and had pop chart success. But instead, he provides listeners with an autobiographical album of sorts.

Deciding to bear your soul usually provides the best results for any singer. It is well known to fans that back in 2020, the crooner and his wife split, contemplated divorce and then later reconciled, remarrying three months before the release of this album. With the album’s current single, “Handle Me Gently,” Ne-Yo delivers a nineties R&B style slow jam about getting your partner back.

While the previously released single “Don’t Leave Me” is textbook Ne-Yo, it honestly reminds us how strong his pen game is. Had this song gone to another artist earlier in the year, it would be even more significant. Never one to shy away from sensuality, Ne-Yo delivers the goods on the exotic dancer’s anthem “You Got The Body .”In addition, the bop “After Party” pays a smooth homage to the Roger Troutman sound while becoming one of 2022’s best slow cuts.

Apart from “What If” and some forgettable album filler, there isn’t much for the dance floor. I didn’t mind this artistic decision as I prefer Ne-Yo’s slower material. While I can’t say this album is strong as the singer’s first four projects, he has delivered one of his best projects since his prime days.

 

Final Grade: B

 Self-Explanatory is available on streaming platforms 

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