By the time of his Def Jam solo debut in 2006, Ne-Yo had already been a high-profile behind-the-scenes figure in contemporary R&B, penning hits for the likes of Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige. Like those artists, Ne-Yo's music is influenced by hip-hop beats and production values, but falls squarely under the rubric of modern soul, and the talent he displayed writing for others is abundant here.
The grooves on IN MY OWN WORDS are mostly down- to mid-tempo, with plenty of room to showcase Ne-Yo's way with a lyric and melody. The album's first single, "Stay," is a case in point, layering vocal lines for a choral effect while Ne-Yo's fine, flexible voice soars over the top. As one might expect, matters of the heart are the primary theme, but Ne-Yo proves that the market can handle another romantic neo-soul crooner, especially one this talented.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (p.92) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[S]tate-of-the-art bump 'n' grind....[He] has an R. Kelly-ish delivery and a high, urgent tenor a little like Stevie Wonder's..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.100) - "Ne-Yo not only co-writes all of his material, but he wisely forgoes token samples in favor of juicy OFF THE WALL-era chord progressions." -- Grade: B-
- Stay - (with Ne-Yo/Peedi Peedi)
- Get Down Like That - (with Ne-Yo)
- Let Me Get This Right - (with Ne-Yo)
- When You're Mad - (with Ne-Yo)
- So Sick - (with Ne-Yo)
- I Ain't Gotta Tell You - (with Ne-Yo)
- Mirror - (with Ne-Yo)
- Sign Me Up - (with Ne-Yo)
- It Just Ain't Right - (with Ne-Yo)
- Get Down Like That - (remix, Hidden Track, with Ne-Yo)
- Let Go - (with Ne-Yo)
- Time - (with Ne-Yo)