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Thick in Talent, Spread Too Thin
on April 20, 2005
Soul: the spirit principle embodied in human beings.
Machine: a spiritless contraption.
Ceelo Green's wordplay of oxymorons stay in line with the last album (Ceelo Green & His Perfection Imperfections) - an attempt to be all things in all places. Be that as it may, Green's sophomore offering actually further confirms the opposite, which is not a bad thing; Green is not the one to pack the amusing humor of Ludacris (refer to "Childz Play" for evidence) or the concrete and boarded windows ruthlessness of 50 Cent (refer to "Evening News", "Scrap Metal" and the latter half of "Glockapella"). Green is a Southern minister, period, a minister that could not hide his need to preach if you paid him to (refer to "Die Trying"). Every song comes with the undertones of being in a family reunion complete with styrofoam plates and red Kool-Aid with sugar that hugs the bottom of the cup. This is largely due to Green's voice, which is truly made for a black, Yosemite Sam type cartoon character or that Bruce Bruce comedian type of uncle that hurts your feelings with the truth but had such an irresistable laugh, you let it slide.
A perfect example is "The Art of Noise", which luckily does not sound like the typical screwball keyboard-styled Neptunes production that flooded the market for the past two years. It's a song made for sunny days that features subject matter that Green seems to be the most talented MC at pulling off: conveying, almost gleefully, to the thugged-out generation that being "happy" about being alive will not make you a black version of Mr. Dithers from the Simpsons.
"Living Again" has the uptempo beat to make you move, but the melody and message questioning the quality of the life you live comes off in a way that works against it, making you unsure of how to groove to it. Oh, but there will be no qualms on how to take "I'll be Around" this Timbaland-assisted ditty will work to get you bumpin' and mouthin' along on either the dirt road to big mama's or the detail shop waxing the big body Chevy with one hand and clutching a pickle egg in the other. Dirty-dirty all the way. "The One" is a picnic banger for the single girls in the family showing the rest of the family how dem children dance these days. Unfortunately, T.I.'s witty flow is so steeped in the subject of b!tches and ho's that the unedited version kills the multigenerational appeal like DMX's lyrics on his "Party Up" hit.
"My Kind of People" fares better lyric wise, but the tone and atmosphere of the song is more of a winding down for the night, moving side to side with some eighty proof drink in your hand type of situation. "I am Selling Soul" has classic Ceelo metaphysical musings, but the music sounds like the producers of "Will and Grace" took some X and... the disco groove does him no justice. Green seems to sense this and though the groove changes, the damage is done. "All Day Love Affair" is a gorgeous ode to a settled, peaceful monogamy. It will be the track that will wait for you and meet you like an old friend when you happily give up clubbing religiously for someone special.
"When We Were Friends" has a light, forgiving melody that brings to mind Tupac's "I Ain't Mad at Ya'" in theme. In fact, it makes you wish Ceelo and the Goodie Mob would let bygones be bygones. "Sometimes" is the best offering of Green's free style musings, a definite soundtrack to smoking quality Bob Marley when alone. "Let's Stay Together" is a possible prelude to the bliss in "All Day Affair." Though not as inspiring, Green's ad-libbing is amusing. Overall, Green is aware that keeping his "feet on the ground and bringing the sky" artistically (and I daresay spiritually) to an audience cut off from any real knowledge of its soulful heritage is a tall order for a 5'6' man, but good lookin' out for his attempts to.