Ne-Yo has been in the music scene for the better part of almost twenty years, and he never fails to be constantly inventive and unique. Non-Fiction is no different, opening up with a monologue introduction where Ne-Yo sets up the scenery for his latest album. Right away, you can tell this is one that he’s poured his heart and soul into – you just feel it in the vocals and lyrics.
Drawing influences from the artists of past and present, like Prince and Pitbull respectively, he’s managed to create a unique and modern album that stands out on its own, totally different from anything close to it’s genre or label. Right from the introduction, your attention is caught and you just melt into the smooth rhythms and vocals – totally losing yourself, to the extent that you can visualize the story that each song is telling perfectly in your head.
Each song is a story on its own – something that is made clear from the introduction – and that is obvious. However there is a connection between all of the songs that turns it into a sort of novel, so to speak. It just takes a little bit of digging to find it. The interludes do a little bit to help you follow along, but for me they were more disruptive to the flow than they were helpful to the story lines – and for some reason, “Time of Our Lives” with Pitbull felt so out of place that it took a moment for me to get refocused. But with all of that aside, Non-Fiction does a lot to paint a picture in your mind and tell a story. And mostly, it succeeds.
The sound of the album is smooth, each with it’s own rhythm that you can either close your eyes and get lost in or groove along to. The features on the album – T.I, Schoolboy Q, Charisse Mills, and others – do an absolutely wonderful job of adding to the songs and improving them far past what they could have been otherwise. Overall, I have to give the album a 7/10. Definitely one of his better albums, but not his best.
Image Credit: Vince Bucci/AP/Press Association Images, Digital Spy