The past week and change has been just full of good news for those of us who adore Cee-Lo Green as a solo artist. First there was the leak of what BabylonSista described when we discussed it as Cee-Lo doing Sinatra, the single “Georgia” from the upcoming album The Lady Killer:
That second verse, the “I’m moving on / Using mostly dirt roads until I find my way…There’s something about Atlanta / That doesn’t cease to amaze me / Oh, after all / It raised the people that raised me” slays me. It’s a gorgeous song, a high-water mark for Cee-Lo both in terms of how he’s using his vocal instrument, the falsetto’s smoothed out, and emotional content and articulation. As much as I love “Die Trying” and “Closet Freak” they’re both songs about posing, whether as a misunderstood genius or a loverman. “Georgia” is an utterly sincere love song, without pretense or embarrassment about that sincerity, and it’s lovely to listen to, the kind of song that should make him as famous as he’s long deserved to be.
And then over the weekend, we got a mixtape, Stray Bullets, which I’m still digesting. But I do really like both the spirit and execution of “Super Woman Theme Song,” in which Lo declares that “Every hero needs a theme song / So she can tell the world a story.” It captures something I’ve had trouble articulating about him for a long time. But I think one of the reasons I like him so much is that Cee-Lo seems to genuinely like women, in addition to regarding them as sexy and a challenge. I’ve just never heard a particular need to put women, if not down, in a particular place in his songs, even in a song like “Sophistic@ted B!$ch” on this same mixtape. I was nervous when I saw “I’ll Kill Her” in the track list, but the person making the threat turns out to be a heartbroken women, whose lament is surprisingly plaintive: “I’ll kill her / She stole my future, she broke my dreams / I’ll kill her, I’ll kill her / She stole my future when she took you away.”
In that same song, Cee-Lo proves why he’s so effective with the ladies: he’s a friendly kind of seducer, the kind of dude who can rock “Let’s make it a Blockbuster night” as a date proposal and make it sound something other than completely cheesy or lazy. It’s a stray thought, but an important one. It’s rare to find a guy working in hip-hop or the general neighborhood who doesn’t at least occasionally come up with a lyric or a concept I have to rationalize, or excuse. It’s nice to be able to feel comfortable with a guy.