Monday, 11 November 2013

Ne-Yo 'Miss Independent'

Chart Peak: 6


Ne-Yo followed up his No. 1 smash hit 'Closer' with 'Miss Independent' - another Top 10 hit from the hot production outfit StarGate... At the end of October 2008, he sang 'The Star Spangled Banner' before a special America football game at Wembley Stadium.

If you want to play connections, the smallest of the four hits from the original version of the Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad was a duet with Shaffer Smith on 'Hate That I Love You', which was the only one of the four not to get onto a Now album. Still he has plenty of his own appearances, including this and his four solo chart-toppers in alternate years (three more than he managed back home, so I guess that's a tenuous link to Kid Rock) and he also wrote several Rihanna songs he didn't sing on. 'Miss Independent', no connection to the Kelly Clarkson hit of the same title, was unusual back then as the second pre-album single from a record by a US-based act, though the practice became increasingly common in the subsequent years partly due to the desire to appeal to different market segments. So after the electronic dance sound of the aforementioned 'Closer', this is in a more radio-friendly loverman style, and was indeed his first hit to be picked up by Radio 2 over here.

The album was called Year Of The Gentleman, and according to Ne-Yo himself this was supposed to be the sort of style he'd adopted. Unfortunately he seems to thing that being a gentleman consists entirely of wearing a trilby hit at a jaunty angle since this song is otherwise pretty bog-standard in style. Lyrically, it's one of those odd songs that seems to present itself as being a tribute to women but ends up just sounding patronising as he marvels at the fact that a women might have a job, drive a car, pay for things with her own money and so on. Geez, they'll be letting them vote soon! By the time he starts saying "there's something about a girl that don't need my help" I just think, isn't that all of them Ne-Yo? Maybe if they released this song in Saudi Arabia it might have seemed more radical but he just sounds like a smarmy pillock here. And if the song's bad, the video's even worse, depicting Ne-Yo going to work in an office where he seems to have nothing better to do than perve over his female colleagues (who all greet him by name in case you forget whose video this is), save for when he takes a break to gawp out of the window at a passer-by. Mind you, I'm not sure all the staff are happy about that.

In the emotional climax of the video he asks the boss for a date and she refuses and gives him some work to do (!) but then at the end she does ask him how she can make it up to him for no adequately explained reason. Maybe it's supposed to be because he's wearing a hat, but would a properly brought-up gentleman have worn it indoors all day? I know it's only a video but the more I think about it the more it annoys me, probably because the song itself is so uninteresting.

Also appearing on: Now 64, 65, 67, 70, 72, 73 (with Keri Hilson and Kanye West), 77, 79 (with Pitbull, Afrojack and Nayer), 83
Available on: Year Of The Gentleman (UK Version)

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