CEE LO GREEN The Lady Killer (Elek­tra/

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Asy­lum) “When it comes to ladies,” Cee Lo Green states at the out­set of his lat­est record, “I have a li­cense to kill.” That’s the mis­sion state­ment for an al­bum that flirts with sex­ual ad­ven­tures, set to a com­bi­na­tion of Stax­era soul and spy-movie theme mu­sic. Re-imag­in­ing the Bond con­cept as a “lady killer” isn’t par­tic­u­larly imag­i­na­tive (isn’t that what Bond was?), but the fram­ing de­vice gives Green a plat­form for his best long-player yet. His pre­vi­ous al­bums, both solo and with Gnarls Barkley, haven’t been con­sis­tently strong. This is mainly be­cause his un­mis­tak­able voice — some­where be­tween that of Sam Cooke and Robert Plant — can seem more shrill than soul­ful af­ter 40 straight min­utes. Green’s spe­cialty lies in sin­gles rather than al­bums. Here, the clear high­light is “For­get You,” a funky, gospel-tinged, venom-laced kiss-off that is one of the best pop hits since Barkley’s “Crazy.” Other high­lights in­clude the ska track “Sat­is­fied,” the an­themic “Bright Lights, Big­ger City,” and the clas­sic-soul vibe of “Old Fash­ioned.” There are a few mild lulls, but the only mis­step is the over­wrought cover of Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You.” That’s a mi­nor quib­ble in the cur­rent mar­ket­place, where we rarely get soul records as ad­ven­tur­ous and in­fec­tious as The Lady Killer. — Robert B. Ker

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