R.E.D. (Deluxe Edition)

R.E.D. (Deluxe Edition)

Though it’s his fifth studio album, 2012’s R.E.D. — an acronym for Realizing Every Dream — is Ne-Yo’s first full-length on Motown. From the subtly retro-soul of opener “Cracks In Mr. Perfect” (cleverly tripped-up with self-deprecating lyrics that somehow make him even more charming) to the libidinous tension of the closing dance-pop hit “Burning Up,” R.E.D. plays as if the prolific R&B singer-songwriter saved his best songs for this album. And now as Senior Vice President of A&R for Motown, Ne-Yo seems even more driven to make top-shelf recordings. He enlisted indie-pop star Sia Furler to collaborate with the writing on standout jam “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself).” Her additions of synthesizer laced Euro-pop textures and soaring melodies in the song’s uplifting chorus are a perfect fit with Ne-Yo’s impassioned singing. Moreover, the hooks are so catchy — they beg for further songwriting alliance. With the sultry rhythm of a heavy heartbeat, “Lazy Love” proves that Ne-Yo can pen a steamy serenade on par with those of R. Kelly.

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