Fusicology on November 22, 2010with 2 comments
Ne-Yo Libra Scale Album In Stores Today
3-time Grammy Award-winning superstar Ne-Yo’s movie career over the past five years has had a profound effect on his work as a composer – revealed in the cinematic story-line of his fourth album, LIBRA SCALE.
LIBRA SCALE, scheduled for November 22nd release, is the follow-up to Ne-Yo’s RIAA platinum Year Of The Gentleman, which debuted at #1 on the Soundscan and UK national charts in September 2008. That album spun off a triumvirate of consecutive RIAA platinum hits: “Closer” (#1 U.S. Dance, #1 UK), “Miss Independent” (#1 U.S. R&B, #1 UK R&B), and “Mad” (#5 U.S. R&B, #3 UK R&B).
After a sizzling performance of “Beautiful Monster” on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance on July 1st, Ne-Yo traveled to London to preview tracks from LIBRA SCALE at the swanky Hospital venue one week later. Tastemakers had a chance to sample the album’s narrative, threading through each of the songs, as explained by Ne-Yo.
The story centers on the misadventures of ‘The Gentlemen,’ the trio of Jerome (played by Ne-Yo), Clyde and Leroy. After encountering a mysterious figure, the three are granted everything they could ever want – money, fame, cars, girls…and superpowers; the only catch being that they cannot fall in love. For Clyde and Leroy, the pre-condition is easy. Not so for Jerome (Ne-Yo), who falls for Pretty Sinclair, a vivacious no-nonsense stunner. He captures her heart and they begin a relationship – which is when she contracts a strain of his super-powers and suffers an adverse reaction that effectively drives her crazy.
The plot thickens as she is transformed into ‘Diamond Eye,’ a monster who sets about destroying the Gotham-like city. At this point, the mysterious figure re-appears. Disappointed in Jerome, he offers him an ultimatum: allow Diamond Eye and Pretty Sinclair both to die, and the city is saved – or allow Pretty Sinclair to live and reverse all the damage Diamond Eye has done, but Jerome must die. Will he choose “the love of his life” or his own “love of life?” We are left with Jerome weighing up the decision on a ‘Libra Scale’…hence the album’s title.
Ne-Yo Records Concept Album About Superheroes
"She will make you love it, even if it hurts," Ne-Yo sings menacingly on "Cause I Said So," a track from his forthcoming fourth album, Libra Scale. Only, the R&B singer-songwriter isn’t singing about a typically forceful romantic encounter, but an evil, possessed villainess named Diamond Eye: Libra Scale is a concept album that chronicles the journey of R&B’s very first superhero team, the Gentleman, and their rise to fame, power, and money — all at the expense of love.
"I am a bit of a comic book/Japanimation/sci-fi geek," Ne-Yo says, not sheepishly, after previewing the album for Rolling Stone at Def Jam’s Manhattan office. "I’ve been in love with this stuff for years, since before I was double digits."
So the 30-year-old singer, born Schaeffer Smith, took his passion for latex-suited superbeings and applied it — loosely — to Libra Scale. "The whole idea to do this for my fourth came from not doing an album in ’09 because I was doing two movies, learning how to write for the screen," he says. "And then, the inspiration was furthered by Michael Jackson’s passing, looking at ‘Thriller,’ ‘Moonwalker,’ ‘Bad.’ Those were more than just videos — those were movies."
Initially, Ne-Yo had dreams of making a companion 45-minute mini-movie to be packaged with the album, but time and cost became insurmountable obstacles, so he’ll settle for a series of extended music videos. A graphic novel may be in the works, too. But even without those visuals, Libra Scale plays like another stellar Ne-Yo album, rich in melody and yearning, with a high-toned pop appeal.
On lead single "Beautiful Monster," he re-teams with StarGate, the Norwegian production duo that has supplied some of his biggest, best hits, including his first, 2006′s "So Sick" and 2008′s "Miss Independent." Other producers include Chuck Harmony, from Ne-Yo’s in-house team, Compound Entertainment, who handles the groove-centric "One in a Million." Luke Laird, a Nashville veteran who has worked with Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood, chips in the stunning acoustic guitar-led ballad "She Is." "I listen to country music — I like country music," Ne-Yo says. "I feel that’s one of the last genres of music where storytelling is a staple. ‘She Is’ definitely lives in that world."
Broadening his base — to country fans and nerds alike — is a strategic move for the sometime songwriter who has written hits for Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Mary J. Blige, and seen all three of his albums go platinum. He’s not satisfied with his success, and will do whatever it takes to become his own sort of Superman.
"Literally, I’m trying to please all of the people all of the time," he says. "I know people have said it’s impossible, but damnit, I feel like I can do it."
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