By Al Kaufman
Was it gimmicky, stupidity, brilliance, or just plain arrogance to release a first single with a title that all but guaranteed no radio airplay? For Cee-Lo, it was clearly the latter two. “Fuck You,” like his monster hit with Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy,” is just too powerful to be denied. Yes, he lost some cred for releasing the sanitized for your protection version, “Forget You,” but the song is a perfect mix of anger and humor, with universal sentiment and a great melody that jumps out at you. Quite simply, Cee-Lo can now lay claim to two of the greatest singles of the 21st century.
Nothing else on The Lady Killer knocks you on the head in the same manner as “Fuck You,” but the songs on here are all great in their own way. “Well hello there, my name is . . . not important” he suavely states to open the CD, before breaking into “The Lady Killer Theme,” which sounds like a Bond theme audition tape in the fiery, best way possible.
Then Cee-Lo gives us a lesson on just how best to use a smoothly sublime tenor. He has a voice like Sam Cooke on crystal meth. He can freak you out just as readily as he can seduce you. He is a master of 60’s (“It’s OK”) and 70’s (“Satisfied”) soul. He can croon (“I Want You”) or just blow your face out, as he and Lauren Bennett do on yet another Bondish sounding number, “Love Gun.”
Cee-Lo makes the most of snare drums, finger snaps, horns, and doo-wop singers to give The Lady Killer a sexy, modern retro feel. If Stax or Motown had a revitalization today, they would sound like this. It’s immediate and fresh. It’s finger snapping, booty shaking, love making dynamite. The Lady Killer slays.