In 2018 where we are all so quick with it to brand young emerging acts like Cardi B as superstars and legendary (though her debut album was incomparable), RnB singer Neyo has actually earned his stripes. His debut album, more than a decade ago, In My Own Words was so commercially successful and had everybody and their mama singing to So Sick and Sexy Love. Not forgetting Year Of The Gentleman, his 3rd project which undisputedly secured him at the helm of RnB.
It was when he started to go all electric EDM on us with post Libra Scale Neyo that things started looking a little shaky. But I’ll let bygones be bygones just because I am so thrilled at this new Neyo music.
It’s been more than a minute, about 3 years since we last heard of Neyo when he dropped Non-Fiction. Granted the superstar never really put his music hat down. He has gone on to produce and direct sounds for hit shows, and his pen writing has put him up there as a force to be reckoned with.
Good Man is Shaffer Smith’s seventh (SEVENTH y’all!!) studio album and I am happy to announce that it is heavily grounded in RnB roots. I was not expecting any less based off his lead single that’s the title track, that marked his soulful return in a genre that seems to be waning in 2018 music, a far cry from when he was thriving in the 2007 Because Of You scenario.
The project has 20 tracks and is peppered with guest appearances from Romeo Santos, Bebe Rexha, Stefflon Don, PartyNextDoor, Eric Bellinger and Candice Boyd (a former contender at Diddy’s The Four). For the most part, the body of work soars and dips with waves.
1 More Shot is groovy and upbeat and has all the makings of a radio hit. LA Nights is laid back and chilled, made for mood music, specifically the drinking and smoking kind. His collaboration with Romeo Santos crooning in Spanish and the backdrop claps on Nights Like These is the best thing I didn’t know I needed.
The album continues to peak at U Deserve with Neyo adorning his gentleman hat, reminding a woman of her worth; Self-control, honorable/Responsible, I’m with you so//Honesty, integrity (what you deserve)/Loyalty, you mean to me/You deserve, you deserve. (Although I already know some misplaced feminists will ask who is he to know what a woman deserves).
Summertime introduces or rather tries to inject the turn-up segment followed by the reggae-pop hit Push Back with Bebe Rexha and Stefflon Don. You are living under a rock if you haven’t heard this because its riding on massive airplay. It’s an infectious tune and the harder you fight it, the deeper you get hooked. The album dips a little but Neyo reels us back in with Without U and Apology which are about to be dedicated back to back by fu*kboys to scorned girlfriends.
The collaborations on here are almost sub-par compared to the singles. I expected a lot more from the merger between him and Eric Bellinger’s Hotbox, considering the ocean wide talent between these two. Ocean Sure was good and it’s Miss Boyd’s powerhouse vocals that soar. Ultimately the title track is the absolute gem and can’t be played enough.
There is minimalistic production which works to the better of the album, with everything stripped down to beautiful songwriting and vocals.
Good Man is a great body of work and which the R&B genre desperately needed. Most especially in this current atmosphere of MeToo, we badly needed to hear some Gentleman RnB.
Notable Favorites; LA Nights, Nights Like These, Without You, Good Man
Overall Rating; 8.8/10