The sweet singing soulman’s fifth disc updates his sound as he adds more dance-oriented pop to augment his superbly arranged and executed love songs. Ne-Yo has specialized in telling three-minute stories that cut deeper than most disposable contemporary R&B, and it continues here. “R.E.D” (Realizing Every Dream) is smart, sophisticated, and built around songs. There are a few attempts at crossover success, including the hip-hop tinged “Don’t Make ’Em Like You,” with a lame cameo from Wiz Khalifa. “She Is,” an acoustic ballad with Tim McGraw, is unadulterated pop. He ventures into electronic dance-lite multiple times, including two StarGate produced tracks, and “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),” co-penned by Sia, is a deftly conceived confection. The disc opens with a fine “Cracks in Mr. Perfect,” concerning the perils of success, but it feels like an orphan on a set preoccupied with relationships. Ultimately, it’s the love songs that make the biggest impression on this nicely balanced disc. (Out Tuesday) KEN CAPOBIANCO
Album Review | R&B
By Ken Capobianco| Globe Correspondent November 06, 2012
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