CeeLo Green - Heart Blanche (C+)

I LOVED CeeLo’s 2010 album The Lady Killer. His voice is soulful and strong and he speaks with such a poetic flow, it makes sense that his lyrics would do the same. So I waited anxiously to see what he would do next…and then I waited some more…and more…and more. Finally, five years later, we are given Heart Blanche. You know that feeling when you loved an artist's previous album so much that it’s hard to give the new one a chance? You just want to go back to what you know! Well that’s how I felt during the first half of this album. I just wanted familiarity but during track seven (“Sign Of The Times”) a switch hit inside me and I stopped longing for the old and settled in with the new. The second and third listen through offered even more upside and as always, I’m glad he didn’t end up duplicating his previous effort, as good as it may have been.

Cee Lo always seems to be in his own category, though easily labeled as a soulful R&B artist with pop sensibilities there isn’t anyone I’d really compare him too. In this album he expands his style even more as he deals in modern funk and disco. He’s got a natural old school style to him which I think makes his music accessible to multiple generations, and to me that's timeless. I’m not saying people will be putting him on 50 years from now but I am saying his music will never feel outdated, which is no small task. There’s warmth in his voice and it’s easy to tell that he loves his craft and exploring his sound. I don’t know where I’ll rank this album come years end, but I know it’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest. While I still prefer the second half of the album, I liked almost every song. My favorites being the retrospective “The 1980’s” and the theatrical disco jam “Tonight”. On the second half I’d check out him hitting us with some powerful grit on “CeeLo Green Sings The Blues” and “Purple Hearts (Soldier Of Love)”, some heart with “Music To My Soul”, and my personal favorite, “Thorns”.