In My Own Words

In My Own Words

4.5 19
by Ne-Yo
     
 

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Shaffer Smith has been writing material for mainstream acts since the tail end of the '90s, when he was barely old enough to drive. In 2004, after he adopted the name Ne-Yo -- a sensible move since his birth name is more like that of a sitcom actor or anchorman than an R&B loverman -- his industry stock shot way upSee more details below

Overview

Shaffer Smith has been writing material for mainstream acts since the tail end of the '90s, when he was barely old enough to drive. In 2004, after he adopted the name Ne-Yo -- a sensible move since his birth name is more like that of a sitcom actor or anchorman than an R&B loverman -- his industry stock shot way up for co-writing Mario's "Let Me Love You," an inescapable number one hit. The pointedly titled In My Own Words is the second album he has made as a solo artist, but it's the first to be released, and its presentation clearly intends to get the point across that he's a writer, with images of lyric sheets strewn across the accompanying booklet, and the photo props of choice are pencils and pads, not practically naked models and probably rented sports cars. In My Own Words is a concise album with only one guest verse (from Peedi Peedi), unless you count the unlisted bonus remix (featuring Ghostface). It's very focused and surprisingly taut, especially for a debut that involves several producers. "So Sick," a hit single released in advance of the album, carries a vulnerability not unlike "Let Me Love You" -- it's certainly additional proof that Ne-Yo does heartache best of all -- but it's even more successful at staying on the right side of the line that separates heartfelt anguish from insufferable whining. Its modern approach, interlocked with touches of '70s and '80s R&B sensibilities, is also in effect for the entirety of the album. Beyond a couple lightweight tracks, the album only falters when scenarios from different relationships clash: in "Get Down Like That," Ne-Yo is a righteous boyfriend who turns down the advances of a tempting ex, while in "That Just Ain't Right," he confesses to an ex (who has been an ex for three years) that he calls out her name while in bed with his current lover. The problems, however, really aren't all that detrimental. Ne-Yo is a real talent as a songwriter, and as a vocalist he is unmistakably more concerned with serving the song than his ego. He's not the flashiest vocalist, but he's able to put across contrasting emotions with slight adjustments, and he balances toughness with tenderness exceptionally well -- all of which are uncommon traits in the early 2000s. This album could turn out to be the most impressive R&B debut of 2006, as well as one of several milestones in a lengthy career.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/28/2006
Label:
Def Jam
UPC:
0602498826126
catalogNumber:
000493402
Rank:
22119

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ne-Yo   Primary Artist,Vocals
Larry Gold   Strings
Robert Taylor   Guitar
Tor Erik Hermanson   Multi Instruments,Various
Mikkel SE   Multi Instruments,Various
Peedi Peedi   Rap
Nissan Stewart   Drums

Technical Credits

Bunny Sigler   Composer
Larry Gold   Management
Cam Wilson   Composer
Nichell Delvaille   Photo Coordination
Doug Joswick   Package Production,Package Preparation
Ervin Pope   Producer
A.J. Lewis   Composer
E. Jordan   Composer
Mike Tocci   Engineer
Tia Johnson   Art Direction
Curtis "Sauce" Wilson   Producer,Engineer
Brian Reid   Producer,Audio Production
Tor Erik Hermanson   Instrumentation
Mikkel SE   Engineer,Instrumentation
Ashaunna Ayars   Marketing
Sean Tallman   Engineer
Brandon Howard   Producer
Mark Ford   Groomer
Carter Administration   Executive Producer
Ne-Yo   Author
Ron "Neff U" Feemstar   Producer
Tia Johson   Art Direction
Theron "Neff U" Feemster   Producer,Audio Production
Robert Horn   Engineer

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