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on March 4, 2004
I dig Cee Lo and where his essence lies. Rap is maturing and its artists, its prophets can start building on the foundation that has been laid and take time out to say something, love something, and challenge people to listen to some genre bending talents. Cee-Lo is clearly inspired by soul music and gospel music and he aims to deliver a message. He's a little quirky as a singer; Terrence Trent D'arby with a fuller tone and a lisp who usually hits his note but occasionally misses it. On the whole I find the vocals really convincing. There are some beautiful soul tunes on this album; you can't be a soul machine without one, I suppose. I especially dig "All Day Love Affair" and "Die Trying" as illustrations of Cee Lo soulsinger. "Live Again" is a prophetic challenge with its "are you sure your really living" hook.
Cee-Lo's got a more party side to this album that could get him some more radio play this time out. One of the tracks, "My Kind of People" is based on Musical Youth's lone hit "Pass the Dutchie" and could get some club action.
Jazz heads will dig Russell Gunn's work on the album. Russell Gunn provides backup horns on some of the tracks. "Art of Noise" is a nice jam that benefits from Gunn's stuff. Like Roy Hargrove's production assistance on a lot of Dangelo/Roots/Soulquarians/Common/Badu stuff, Cee-Lo gets some added sophistication by having a jazz head helping out with production. Most of the charts are pretty tight and there are some solid beats on the album.
So why only four stars? I really want to Cee-Lo just lose the battle rap/go for street cred stuff. "Evening Comes" begins a two or three song cycle where Cee-Lo's battle rapping and challenging the haters. Some of its amusing, but its a little self contradictory. Cee Lo seems fond of orbs. There's a mellow green orb on the cover of his last album and it jives with his spiritually relevant raps. Turning up the heat to full wattage with star power and battle rapping momentarily blinds you from his essence. I can't take tracks like "Scrap Metal" seriously. Lose Big Rube and just shine with your big ole beautiful self Cee Lo! Most of the other guests don't fully get in the way but I don't think they add much for me. We don't often get Ludacris rapping in 12/8 time and he adds his typical craziness. Cee Lo sings circles around Pharell in their collaboration on the next to last full track of the album.
I will say for all you Outkast fans that this is a great next purchase if you dig Speakerboxx/Love Below. In some ways Cee Lo's disc may be more consistent than Andre's even if it's not going to get all the chart success.
This is good, this is strong, and this is one way in black music the artist/entertainer can find hope in the market. I encourage you to dig the album.
Just know that I think Cee Lo can dig even deeper when he combines the honesty and "screw what people want from me" attitude of his first album with the better songwriting, and tighter hooks of this album. I hope he finds some encouragement and strength to sustain an even riskier effort in the future.
The man's got talent and he deserves your suport.
4.5 stars
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on March 2, 2004
this album is F-ing nasty. it doesn't have as much of the raw dirty south edge as perfect imperfections but its got the slicker soulful sound happening. people said he would do less of his singing stuff on this album, but its still in there. honestly, its a ton of original unique music. probably ends up being something like a cross between the love below and speakerboxxx. the track with luda is sick, the primo track is excellent as well. i HIGHLY recommend this disc. don't expect the last one, but its still some of the most original music out there. im usually slow to warm up to an album but i've only had it for about 12 hours and i already can't take it off repeat.
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on January 16, 2006
Cee-lo is BY FAR one of raps greatest lyricists. Shawdy is a genuine artist. His singing is OK. His words are nuthin but poetry, very potent; provocative and profound, also appealing to the conscious. He's a grown man in a boy's game. Frida Kahlo caliber, feel? Intimately artsy, what a album is SUPPOSED to be. Even manages to creatively make radio transition without dillution. A definate musical artifact amoungst the force-fed garbage on the radio, evidence of the last days-they literally hypnotise us with it, this album is a definate option, Artistry at its best, with or without garbage to compare it to, I feel if musicians were artists again, this album would STILL stand alone. Soul piercing. Peace.
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on April 1, 2004
If I could describe this album in a single word it would be "genius". That is what it is. Cee-Lo is one step above the rest of the game with this eccentric and clearly ecclectic and soulful album. With productions and cameos from many of the heavy-weights in hip-hop today, he as an artist has displayed his artistic views in an unconventional yet enjoyable way. I LOVE IT!!!!
My Favorite Tracks:
The Art Of Noise
Living Again
I'll Be Around
The One
Childz Play
Let's Stay Together
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on March 3, 2004
Damn. Cee-Lo Green really is the Soul Machine. I gotta say this album is one of the best I've bought in the last year. The single with Timbaland is hot, and Cee-Lo's flow stays on point the entire album, whether spittin fire in a fast rap or swingin low on some soulful tune. The Art Of Noise is a personal favorite of mine, with a 70's funk feel and some great vocals and production.
For that matter, the whole album's production is amazing. Cee-lo's beats are great, but there are also 2 neptunes beats, and timbaland beat, and one DJ Premier beat. The song with primo is probably my favorite cut on the album, "Evening News"
If you're looking for soulful smooth hits, they're here. You also got your Hip Hop roots, a playful song with Ludacris, even a diss track ("Glockapella") Its all here, a very well-rounded album, go out and cop it today.
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on March 6, 2004
WOW, Cee-Lo Green is one of a kind. He should make more albums often. One word to discribe his music and cds is PHENOMENAL. The cd has different types of music and sets different types of moods. I for one am greatful the music industry has a perfomer so versatile.
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VINE VOICEon March 5, 2004
Cee Lo is getting better with every endeavor. Let's dive right in, shall we?
1) Intro - It walks a thin line between corny and cute, but it works somehow. If you liked Coming To America, you MIGHT dig this.
2) Soul Machine - He brings the funk for every bit of 1:40. Go figure. The flow is a little boring on this song, but the content is tight. It's a solid start to the album.
3) The Art of Noise feat. Pharrell - First off, why does Pharell get appearance credit? As far as the song goes, only Cee Lo could keep you interested in a song like this. If anyone else sings it, you skip to the next song halfway through it.
4) Living Again - One of the better songs on the album. Content, lyrics,'s all there. This is the Cee Lo that people pay to hear.
5) I'll Be Around feat. Timbaland - This song is strictly for the radio. But let me just say that Timbaland has gotten away from the beats that made him a top 3 producer back in the late 90's. But he gets back on his horse after falling off and makes one of the hottest beats I've heard from him since "Raise Up". I've been a die hard fan of his beats since day one and lately I've been sorely disappointed. But he renewed my faith in his abilities here.
6) The One feat. Jazze Pha & T.I. - Another Radio joint. I know rap is dying, I won't say it's dead just yet, but for some reason, I'm feelin' T.I. Something about him that makes me actually listen to him......I just don't know what yet. Oh yeah, the beat is hot.
7) My Kind of People feat. Jazze Pha & Menta Malone - This song contains interpolations of "Pass The Dutchie", but they pull it off without it being corny. Again, it's the Cee Lo that people pay to hear. It could've REALLY done without that Menta Malone guy though. His rap was borderline awful.
8) Childz Play feat. Ludacris - Creative beats on this one. I like it, but I get the feeling that most people won't. Let me put it this way....if you're into conventional beats and typical song structure, then skip this song. Oh yeah, you can always count on Luda for good comic relief.
9) I Am Selling Soul - Cee Lo at his best on this album. He speaks the truth without coming off as being too "preachy". One of the best songs on the album and the beat is on point. This song takes you back to that 1st album feeling.
10) All Day Love Affair - The singing Cee Lo. I like the beat, but some reason, I found his singing annoying on this song. It's not a bad song, but it's definitely skippable (is that a word?).
11) Evening News - Cee Lo proves that he can still spit with the best of them. And the beat is hot. Solid song.
12) Scrap Metal feat. Big Rube & G Rock - Let me just say that Big Rube is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo underrated. He should have a few gold albums or at least a cult following by now. He alone makes this song worth listening to. But Cee Lo taking it to the streets? Come on now. You can't make a song like "El Dorado Sunrise (Super Chicken)" and then expect to be taken seriously when you try to get "gangsta". He shot a brick on this one, but the beat is hot.
13) Glockapella - Another brick. The next song takes your mind off of this terrible two song drop off.
14) When We Were Friends - Soothing beats, feel good theme, and the lyrics are tight. One of the best songs on this album.
15) Sometimes - Cee Lo the poet? Look out now! Nah, not really. He does an okay job, but he doesn't really go anywhere with this song. But I like how they flip the beat throughout the song. This is one of those "I just felt like it" songs.
16) Let's Stay Together feat. Pharrell - Terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible singing from Pharrell. Cee lo should've done this song alone. The beat is decent at best also. And let me just ask.....although I liked "Frontin'", who in the world told Pharrell he could sing?
17) Die Trying - Nice beat, nice flow.....feel good Cee Lo.
18) What Don't You Do? (Outro) - It's basically the same outro as the last album.
I would've given Cee Lo 5 starts, but you can't ignore those two bricks toward the end of the album. 5 star albums don't have bricks on them.....or do they? Nonetheless, tracks 12 & 13 cannot be ignored. They take the rating down by one star. It's a solid purchase though.....much better than the last album. It shows progression.
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on May 18, 2004
This CD is off the hook, a lot better than Kanye West's but isn't getting as much radio play or hype as Kanye. Don't understand it. While I much enjoy Kanye's College Dropout, Soul Machine blows it out of the water.
Lyrics are killer, I feel pretty much each and every one. A few songs of his got really heavy beats, but I find myself feeling each song; catching myself moving my head to the words and the beat. That's a sign of a truely great artist; when you find yourself into the music and not realizing it. His stuff really sucks you in.
"All Day Love Affair" has got to be my favorite song on this joint. A must listen for anyone who's got a romantic side to them.
Anyway, I gave him five stars. His lyrics are real, never been done before, and truely orignial. Every song on this joint is FANTASTIC. Will make you say whoa more than once and I guarantee will be one of your favorite CD's to play, and jive to. I dig, I dig... whoa..
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on March 29, 2004
simply amazing....if u don't have cee-lo in your life you are missing out......from the al green like ballads let's stay together and all day love affair to the gritty raps of evening news and glokapella cee lo hits all the bases including the sublime mood music musings of sometimes(spoken word) and radio friendly sure shots like art of noize (neptunes) and timbaland (I'll be around) then let the final track inspire you as cee lo assures that he will die trying.........damn lo what don't you do? well unfortunately he doesn't sell to well because timid record companies/radio programmers/ and mtv or whatever do not know what to do with the man who can effortlessly slide from being one of the top rhymers in the game to a soulfull and i mean soulfull singing style. Probably one of the three best things going on in music today (the other two are probably outkast)!!!!
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on April 19, 2004
For some reason when Cee-lo gets on the mic whether its singing his soul music or whether he's rappin I just love to hear it. I was so excited when I heard his first single I'll Be Around for the first time. Their is no other artist out there like this. His music is pretty close to Outkast's music so if you like that then you should like this. Outkast's CD has been selling of the charts, so when I see Cee-Lo not getting that much love it really bothers me. So go out and pick up this album, listen to it with an unbiased approach and your sure to love it.
Stand Out Songs: I'll Be Around, My Kind of People, Childz Play feat. Ludacris, The One feat T.I., Living Again (i really like this song for some reason)and Glockapella.
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