A few years before Goodie Mob’s CeeLo Green had a hit with “Crazy” as a member of Gnarls Barkley, he was plying his trade and showing off his considerable chops as a vocalist and songwriter on his second solo album, 2004’s Cee-Lo Green... is the Soul Machine. The album found him collaborating with name producers like Timbaland and the Neptunes, DJ Premier and others to make a record resonant with old-school sounds filtered through new-school production approaches and attitude.
In addition to being a cool-sounding album, Soul Machine is a lot of fun to kick back with and just enjoy. We re-discovered this recently, and picked out some highlights.
"I'll Be Around": Green and Timbaland introduce themselves in rhyme. Green: “I bust a rap to make a blind man believe in the boogie.” Timbaland: “I like them girls with big butts and golds in they mouth.” Listeners: “Well, how do you do?”
“My Kind of People”: Good weed brings people together, apparently, or at least it does here, as Green, Jazze Pha and Menta Malone seem to be quite comfy in one another’s company when discussing smoke. Other things, too, but mostly smoke.
“All Day Love Affair”: As sweet a song as you’re likely to find about just spending time with the person you love. It’s not a “gonna rock your world all night long” kind of thing; more like “We can rent some movies and make it a Blockbuster night / Does that sound interesting baby? Sound like an idea?” If you’re crazy about that person, it sounds like a great idea.
“Let’s Stay Together”: The song is not the Al Green classic with which it shares its name, though CeeLo Green’s vocal sounds a lot like Rev. Green’s voice. Even Pharrell Williams comes in on the hook, to give his own soulful falsetto a try. A great throwback track with a timeless theme - “It’s just you and me, baby. Let’s do this.”