Artist: Cee-LoTitle: Cee-Lo Green Is The Soul MachineRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Martin Berrios<font face="verdana" size="2"
Cee-Lo Green has often been overlooked on Hip Hop's crowded stage. He has collaborated with various artists ranging from Carlos Santana to Trick Daddy. With a combination of Gospel hymns and reflective lyricism, he gave us a taste of what was to come from Goodie Mob's ex front man. His debut solo album Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections was praised for its originality and unique sound, but it was quickly forgotten due to its lack of sales and artistic presence.
On this second offering, Cee-Lo is back as The Soul Machine. The overall theme to this project is not a far departure from his previous opus. Musically, the Atlanta crooner takes the album several different directions to present a diverse mixture of Hip Hop, Soul, and Funk, with sprinkles of Spoken Word.
The introductory The Art Of Noise appropriately sets off the feel-good nature of this album. Cee-Los distinct delivery is accompanied by solid Neptunes production on this track. On the hook, he boasts Turn the radio, let the music play/If I could, Id dance my life away/If you cant find to seem any words to say/Make a joyful noise, look around its a beautiful day! His celebratory words are a breath of fresh air in todays current Hip Hop climate. Songs like All Day Love Affair and When We Were Friends second his love movement.
Cee-lo is creatively at his best on Sometimes, a brilliant poem that challenges his audiences thought process. He provides enlightening scenarios using the verb Sometimes as his set up, over a flute driven instrumental. Sometimes being angry is the best mood/Sometimes hunger is the best food.
Mr. Green does not stray far from his Hip Hop roots. He proves he can still spit with the hunger of an unsigned MC. On Childz Play, Cee-lo is able to hold his own as he lends the microphone to fellow ATLien Ludacris. Both veterans use a staggered one-word delivery over a playful sing-along Organized Noize beat. Cee also rides the eerie DJ Premier produced track Evening News excellently.
Soul Machines production is an additional highlight. Surprisingly the artist supplies 1/3 of the music for this album. Other producers include Timbaland, Jazzy Pha, Locksmith, and Traxx.
Cee-Lo is able to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx. Other than a few of moments of filler (My Kind Of People, Lets Stay Together), The Soul Machine is a solid effort. Who would of thought an Atlanta Hip-Hop artist would have made a note-worthy album minus the crunk and pimpcup?