Cee Lo Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine

Cee Lo Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine
If Andre 3000’s The Love Below had a logical precursor it was probably 2002’s Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections in which the former spiritual centre of pioneering Southern group Goodie Mob exhibited his sprawling creativity, singing in his raspy gospel-fuelled voice way more than delivering his righteous rap verses. Cee-Lo’s relationship with Andre 3000 dates back to grade school and while his latest isn’t quite as freewheeling as his former classmate’s or even his own previous solo effort, it does underline Cee-Lo’s singular talent. A measure of the respect he garners from other artists is that the collaborations he’s garnered from established producers rarely fall into their proven cookie-cutter formulas. The DJ Premier-helmed "Evening News” comes off like the moody soundtrack to a reconnaissance mission and "Let’s Stay Together” with the Neptunes along with the title sounds like an Al Green track more than the stop and go standard issue funk Chad and Pharell have been issuing for the past few years. It’s this constant pushing outside of the comfort zone along with Cee-Lo’s brimming confidence and positive spirit, and tighter songwriting that pushes this record. He’s still singing more than he rhymes, but Cee-Lo is clearly beyond putting any limitations on himself as an artist, whether this will ever translate into the props his Dungeon Family cohorts Outkast enjoy remains to be seen. (BMG)