Ne-Yo | Non-Fiction (Motown)

Compared to Ne-Yo’s pervious work, Non-Fiction is sub-par.



Where to begin with this album… I see what Ne-Yo is trying to do, and I think he accomplished his goal, but I’m not sure that it will be well received.

Non-Fiction strives to reinvent storytelling. Ne-Yo provides an introduction to explain that the songs on this album are fiction, yet they are based upon real people and events, making the stories non-fiction. The album proceeds like a collection of stories rather than a book. What I mean by this is each song is its own story, but one song does not necessarily flow into another, not continuing or adding to the previous story.

I like this concept, but the actual stories that Ne-Yo tells are the same as those on his previous album. He talks about the struggles of finding a genuine person to date when you’re a celebrity, getting carried away with sex and alcohol, partying too much, messing up relationships, etc. These are all valid discussion points and, of course, make for interesting stories, but these are also all topics we have heard from Ne-Yo before.

Ne-Yo also changes his style a bit in Non-Fiction, keeping the R&B but adding a lot more hip-hop than usual. I have no problem with this as far as the sound; I think musically this album is wonderful. However, Ne-Yo—who refers to himself as “The Gentleman” and constantly writes about beautiful, independent women and how these women should be uplifted—contradicts himself on his own album by including female-degrading artists like Juicy J and T.I.

I also have to mention the song “Story Time.” Completely out of place on the album, this song has a Hawaiian musical vibe, and is very annoyingly about asking his girlfriend to agree to a threesome. I feel like this song is Ne-Yo’s attempt at humor and, if so, then it’s great. If it’s supposed to be serious, then it’s awful. Problem is, I honestly cannot tell.

In total, the deluxe version of Non-Fiction takes 75 minutes to listen to straight through, and is widely comprised of slow songs that make me sleepy, so I don’t recommend listening while driving.

I commend Ne-Yo for trying something new. There are some hits on this album; my personal favorites are “Time of Our Lives” featuring Pitbull and “Make It Easy.”

I don’t hate any of the songs (except possibly “Story Time”), but I don’t love most of them. Compared to Ne-Yo’s pervious work, Non-Fiction is sub-par. It’s okay, I will listen to it a couple more times, but I would just stream this album; it’s not purchase worthy. C+ | Samantha LaBat

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