Ne-Yo’s new album features many well-known artists

by Julia Chirls

As an R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor, Ne-Yo has graced the music industry with his distinct talent since 1998. On January 27, his sixth studio album, Non-Fiction, hit iTunes following the releases of three singles: “Money Can’t Buy” (feat. Jeezy), “She Knows” (feat. Juicy J), and “Coming With You.”

Ne-Yo’s debut album, In My Own Words, released in 2006, was placed on the Billboard Hot 200 as #1. Since then, Ne-Yo has received over 50 nominations and awards, most notably 11 Grammy nominations and 3 Grammy awards. The awards include Best Contemporary R&B Album for Because of You in 2008 and two for and for Miss Independent in 2009: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.

Aside from his own work, Ne-Yo’s distinct vocals have been featured in a number of songs including Celine Dion’s “Incredible” from her 2013 album Loved Me Back to Life. New Kids on the Block’s 2008 album featured a duet with Ne-Yo in “Single” on their 2008 album The Block. Perhaps the most popular feature was in “Give Me Everything,” for which he worked with Pitbull, Afrojack, and Nayer to write and produce the most popular track on Pitbull’s sixth album Planet Pit and a song that would earn the number one spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 and numerous international charts, including Netherlands’ Dutch Top 40.

Music is not the only platform on which he appears. He also has starred as a Guest Mentor on one of television’s music competitions, The X Factor, and as a Guest Star on teen drama television series, 90210.

The second single and second track on the album, “She Knows,” features a verse by Juicy J. Along with R&B, the song has a twist of trap, a genre that originated in the 1990s, which features some drums, synthesizers, and a fast tempo. The song immediately placed fourth on the US Billboard Rhythmic Chart and tenth on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. Among iTunes listeners, it is the favorite of the 10 songs on the track list.

The sixth song on Non-Fiction, “Time of Our Lives,” is a collaboration with Pitbull, which originally appeared on Pitbull’s eighth studio album Globalization, released in November 2014. “Time of Our Lives,” is to be featured as the theme song for the film Home starring Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Steve Martin, scheduled to be released in March. Pitbull contributes his rap-like edge to Ne-Yo’s bluesy sound to create a dance-pop song that is sure to contribute to the success of this film. “Time of Our Lives” currently sits 3rd on the US Billboard Rhythmic Chart and third on US Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart.

The eighth song on Ne-Yo’s newest album is the third single, “Coming With You,” released January 23. The song is an easy listen with a prominent use of synthesizers, which adds to the smooth sound. It is not too fast and not too slow. In fact, it reminds me of his 2012 song “Let Me Love You” as he uses similar phrasing and tempo.

Non-Fiction is an enjoyable listen that will please listeners, and it will add to the incredible international following he has gained ever since he launched his career a decade ago. It is a positive way to ease into 2015.

Sophomore Julia Chirls is a staff writer. Her email is jchirls@fandm.edu.

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