My first encounter with the music of Cee Lo Green was in his collaboration with Danger Mouse, Gnarls Barkley. Yes, that was a crazy as I hadn’t heard vocals like Cee Lo’s before. The duo took much of what I knew to be great in music and took a right turn with it.
Then comes this album. At first, I was a bit turned off by it. The lyrical content was unsettling to me at first listen and while the production work and the vocals were incredible, I just couldn’t get into it. Then I heard an interview with Cee Lo discussing the album and my views on it changed.
He discussed how this wasn’t an autobiography and he wasn’t advocating for some of the themes in the album, but how it was a fictional character and he was exploring that individual’s life and how they grow over time. The concept was interesting in that it was intentionally meant to be unsettling to the listener and if you were not at least a little bit bothered by it, well, you should be.
Then the album clicked for me. In my younger days, I definitely saw a much watered-down version of these feelings going through my life and I can’t help but look back on some of those thoughts and roll my eyes at my younger self. Listen to this album, kid, and you’ll figure out what the honest version of those feelings you thought you had really are.
Its been 6 long years since this album came out and we haven’t had a lot new from Cee Lo since then. Here is to the hope that something great is in the works and we receive something as thought provoking in his next album.