Green is powerful on ‘Lady Killer’

On the short opening mock-noir track of Cee Lo Green’s third solo record, the former Goodie Mob member says “I’m often asked what I do for a living and I say, ‘I do what I want.’ ’’ Evidently, what this lady killer also does is fall in and out of love as his focused yet versatile soul set deals with passion, breakups, yearning, and revenge. Forget the hardboiled side of noir; here, he’s talking about what happens when blood boils. Green already has had a huge viral hit with the breezy “[Expletive] You,’’ on which the singer vents at a lover. While the humorous, obscene anger has gotten the most attention, the song would never work if it wasn’t underlined by its melodic, throwback musical track. Various producers surround Green with strings, sweet harmonies, and horns on “Satisfied’’ and the Motown shuffle “It’s OK’’ — and the results are irresistible. On a big ballad, “Old Fashioned’’ (a telling title), Green drops his voice a register for a verse, seemingly as an homage to Otis Redding, before airing it out to declare the strength of his love. “No One’s Gonna Love You’’ and “I Want You’’ are slow burning pleas of devotion, but “Cry Baby’’ confronts the inevitable breakdown of a relationship. Anyone who doubted that Green is one of today’s most commanding vocalists simply needs to hear how he negotiates moods here and turns phrases with subtlety, wit, and style. Killer stuff. (Out tomorrow) KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Old Fashioned’’ 

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