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First Released

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Genre

Genre Icon Soul

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CeeLo Green keeps moving through a quarter-century career full of unforeseeable twists and turns. Between scaling heights with the Dungeon Family, Goodie Mob, and Gnarls Barkley, and minor and major roles in hits by TLC, the Pussycat Dolls, and Bruno Mars, he has grown a solo discography showcasing divergent creative impulses as much as his undervalued vocals and songwriting. Going most recently by isolated moments on The Lady Killer ("Old Fashioned" more so than "Fuck You") and Heart Blanche ("Mother May I"), it was apparent that the Atlanta-born son of ministers could make a whole LP of organic soul evoking an era predating his birth -- if only he had the will, means, and a lack of major-label commercial expectations. That notion is essentially made manifest with CeeLo Green Is Thomas Callaway. The title imparts an intent to humanize an artist whose outsized persona, displayed boldly as ever in 2020 on the British version of The Masked Singer, has sometimes overshadowed his music. Indeed, CeeLo resembles an everyman here more than ever before, welcomed into the extended family of Easy Eye Sound, the authenticity-upholding studio and label operated by Dan Auerbach (whose Black Keys have recorded extensively with Danger Mouse, CeeLo's Gnarls Barkley partner). Producer Auerbach and his crew of mostly elder Nashville and Memphis session pros, some of whom assist CeeLo and Auerbach with songwriting, foster a straightforward set that, on the surface, is fine Southern soul -- late-'60s in spirit -- with a stronger country flavor than expected from CeeLo.
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Album Review
CeeLo Green keeps moving through a quarter-century career full of unforeseeable twists and turns. Between scaling heights with the Dungeon Family, Goodie Mob, and Gnarls Barkley, and minor and major roles in hits by TLC, the Pussycat Dolls, and Bruno Mars, he has grown a solo discography showcasing divergent creative impulses as much as his undervalued vocals and songwriting. Going most recently by isolated moments on The Lady Killer ("Old Fashioned" more so than "Fuck You") and Heart Blanche ("Mother May I"), it was apparent that the Atlanta-born son of ministers could make a whole LP of organic soul evoking an era predating his birth -- if only he had the will, means, and a lack of major-label commercial expectations. That notion is essentially made manifest with CeeLo Green Is Thomas Callaway. The title imparts an intent to humanize an artist whose outsized persona, displayed boldly as ever in 2020 on the British version of The Masked Singer, has sometimes overshadowed his music. Indeed, CeeLo resembles an everyman here more than ever before, welcomed into the extended family of Easy Eye Sound, the authenticity-upholding studio and label operated by Dan Auerbach (whose Black Keys have recorded extensively with Danger Mouse, CeeLo's Gnarls Barkley partner). Producer Auerbach and his crew of mostly elder Nashville and Memphis session pros, some of whom assist CeeLo and Auerbach with songwriting, foster a straightforward set that, on the surface, is fine Southern soul -- late-'60s in spirit -- with a stronger country flavor than expected from CeeLo.
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