Popular Music: Ne-Yo
Popular American Music shifts from one genre to another. While some artist are able to withstand this changes, others have one of their hits in the billboard and then gone. Ne Yo is not really new in the music industry. He had done several songs for famous singers on his way to the music industry. He is a dancer and a rapper. Who would have not guess that he could also sing?
He’s debut album did made it good. Some of his songs were in the billboard for a few weeks. His song/s even made it to the top. He had a world tour concert and was accepted by the general public. He’s a good writer and his songs were mostly about women. He’s second album get his ‘fans’ and/or supporter more entertained. He created songs that fit nicely with his silky voice and an ability to cope with every music style from funk-like sounds to sweet style romantic melody. Nonetheless, with the release of his third album are a lot of people that seems a bit disappointed since he had them looking forward for a new R&B style.
R&B has been Ne-Yo’s hallmark. His third album is entitled ‘Year of the Gentlemen’. It is filled with songs that somehow illustrate how a good lover Ne-yo is and can become. It is a good album but it somehow repeats the same genres and singing style as the first two albums. Thus, people seemed to be displeased and did not enjoy the third album with the same intensity as the first two. On the other hand, this reaction only reflects that people or listeners always want changes.
Ne-Yo is an African American with a Chinese Blood. While most African American do raps and sings in a way that combines culture and music, Ne-Yo is strictly a womanizer. His songs usually entail argument/s with woman, breaking up with woman, going back to a woman and loving a woman. He is not a feminist but he upholds woman in the sense that they must be understood and treated with respect and adoration.
The first single in his album is ‘Closer’. It has a dance inducing sound that comes from bass and guitar melodies. It tells about a woman whom he cannot take off his mind. It was followed by ‘Nobody’ which compliments the first single. This song generally presents adoration to a girl whom is like ‘nobody’. The song has a good rhyming.
“Single’ is a song made for ladies who did not get enough attention and care that they deserved. It begins with a rap then continued with the usual R&B tone. ‘Mad’ signifies how women in general act when they are mad. And good enough, the song offers men an advice on how to handle the situation and what to do. However, it also reflects pride on both man and woman. The piano and the beat at the beginning of the song introduce it as a lonely and/or a sorrowful song.
‘Miss Independent’ corresponds to how an independent woman acts and lives. She ‘does her own thing’ means that she does not need support and help. She can go on without a man and she is the boss of her own life. It describes how most modern women act. Its melody is compose of harp and has a bass background that one can really enjoy. ‘The next track on the album is entitled ‘Why does she stay’. ‘Miss Independent’ proves that a woman may not need a man, however, this track somehow explain why other woman stay even if a man ‘is unworthy’. The song describes a down-to-earth woman who does everything for her man. A woman who does not complain and stay with the man she loves even though she is obviously ‘not taken care of’. A resolution is posted at the end of the song stating that the man might have need to change since he cannot see himself without her. It is a description of yet another group of woman whom unlike ‘Miss Independent’ is romantic and enduring.
‘Fade into the Background’ is simply a song that fairly describes what happens when you realized too late what you’ve lost. In this song, it is of course about losing a woman. This song is a ballad that gives a better emphasis on what he is humbling. This song is followed by ‘So you can Cry’ which is about a man loving a woman who loves someone else. It compliments the previous song since both are about woman loving another man but in the track, the woman is the one who is hurt. The guitar and the drums make it more appealing and relaxing despite the sad message of the song.
‘Part of the List’ is a mid-tempo rhymed song dedicated to a woman who had left his man. Most of the lyrics is a list of what the author miss the most about her woman. He further elaborates that on each time that he remembers her, there is something new that will be added to that list. It is a sad song. There seems to be a notion on hopelessness that they would be reunited since there is a mention that the woman would live forever more in the man’s memories. The guitar sound made and Ne-yo’s voice only heightens the sadness in the song.
‘Back to What You Know’ talks about a relationship wherein the man would like to let go of the woman since her heart is still with her previous lover. This song is metaphorically features a ‘lose-lose situation’ for the man. It is either he keeps her woman while she is still in love with someone else or let go of her. This track is ignited by the next song ‘Lie to Me’. It is basically being deceived and wanting to believe whatever lies just assure one self that he is still loved and that his woman is not cheating on him. Unlike ‘Back to what I know’ which is about an innocent woman who do not intend to hurt his man, ‘Lie to Me’ is about a woman who secretly cheat with his man. While the man in ‘Back to What You Know” is brave enough to let go of the woman, in ‘Lie to Me’ the man is somehow afraid of the possible circumstances that will follow if the truth is revealed.
‘Stop This World’ is a pessimistic account of a man who is with a woman who seems too good to be true. It is accompanied by guitar and base like the other songs. ‘What’s the matter’ is about a man and a woman who both does and get what they want but are both unhappy of the result. It only shows how the majority of people dream big but do not want to work themselves up to do what they want. It also explains the fact that most people try to be something else just because it is what they perceived to be a good thing.
The record did suggest different perspectives about how women should be treated. It discusses how women are perceived in the current society. Some cultural idea that are evident are the fact that women are not treated in the same way Fifty years ago, the fact that some women are independent and are better off alone proves that women today can do what they want and how they want it. The prevalence of the term ‘control’ in Ne-Yo’s songs emphasizes the presence of ‘control’ in the centre of a woman’s life. Women now have the capacity to control their lives. They are not anymore dependent to men and thus they deserved to be treated right.
Popular music is identified primarily by the music industry and how they are broadcast. However, a song has its own sphere of audiences, Ne-Yo’s music targets woman and woman lovers in general. The album Year of the Gentleman is basically an expression of feelings towards woman. The tracks are designed so as to relate to one another and the next song. Somehow it represents a story of a man in love with a woman, a man who adores a woman, a man living with the woman, being cheated, letting go and why it won’t work out.
Since it appeals basically to woman, it somehow affects how woman would want themselves to be perceived. While others are independent, others would rather stay at home and wait for their man to change. It showed how diverse women are. It also washed away the ‘happy-ending’ thought about love affairs since some are bound to fail.
In his album, Ne-Yo features a dance rhythm and a ballad music that fit with his R&B style. Ne-Yo’s genre generally appeals to young-adult and to woman. The importance of Pop music is that it can be a vehicle for basic facts and suggestions about the current society. It also offers an initiative since it is popular among the younger generation. For instance, Ne-Yo’s ‘Miss Independent’ might have an impact on some woman as to how they would like to live. What’s the Matter’ on the other hand questions man’s insatiable hunger for popularity which might hurt them when pursued inappropriately.
Ne Yo. (2008). The Year of the Gentleman.