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What's the story?
Ne-Yo who? Just the guy who wrote Mario's mega hit, "Let Me Love You," and many other chart-toppers (by Mary J. Blige, B2K, Faith Evans, and others) -- all before his 22nd birthday. Tender, romantic, and sexy, the songs on IN MY OWN WORDS are well-crafted gems worthy of a veteran songwriter. Ne-Yo (aka Shaffer Smith) pays loving tribute to 1970s and '80s soul music with an original, modern twist. The language is a little stronger, the flirty longing more explicitly sexual, but more than anything, In My Own Words evokes romantic late-night makeout records and soul classics of previous decades.
Is it any good?
Ne-Yo uses his versatile voice effectively on his own songs, and seems comfortable stepping up into the spotlight after being the "other guy" -- the writer of other people's hits –- over instrumental tracks that bring out the best in both the songs and his performances. Tastefully and lovingly produced, the songs shine. Despite Ne-Yo's impressive music industry connections, there are very few celebrity cameos on this album, and that ends up being kind of nice ... we get to hear this young performer sing his own creations in his own strong and confident voice, impressive and promising.