Year of the Gentleman

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Year of the Gentleman
Ne-Yo - Year of The Gentleman.png
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 16, 2008 (2008-09-16)
Ne-Yo chronology
Because of You
Year of the Gentleman
Libra Scale
Singles from Year of the Gentleman
  1. "Closer"
    Released: April 15, 2008
  2. "Miss Independent"
    Released: September 2, 2008
  3. "Mad"
    Released: November 17, 2008
  4. "She Got Her Own"
    Released: December 14, 2008
  5. "Part of the List"
    Released: April 7, 2009

Year of the Gentleman is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Ne-Yo. It was released by Compound Entertainment and Def Jam Recordings on September 16, 2008 in the United States.[1] As with his previous albums In My Own Words (2006) and Because of You (2007), Ne-Yo worked with Stargate, Reggie "Syience" Perry, and Shea Taylor on much of the album, but also consulted new collaborators, including Chuck Harmony, Polow da Don, Butter Beats, and Shomari "Sho" Wilson.

The album was a commercial success, charting in the top-10 in several countries. Year of the Gentleman reached number two on the US Billboard 200 andwas eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of one million copies in the United States, making it his third platinum-selling album as well as his third consecutive top ten album following Because of You. It has also been certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), for shipments of 600,000 copies in the United Kingdom. It was also certified in Canda, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia.

Released to favorable reviews from music critics, Year of the Gentleman earned Ne-Yo nominated six Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year and Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 51st award ceremony. Rolling Stone ranked it number 33 on its list of the 50 Best albums of 2008.[2] In suppot of the album, Def Jam released four singles, including international hit singles "Closer" and "Miss Independent", as well as "Mad" and "Part of the List".


Year of the Gentleman was named in honor of Ne-Yo's artistic influences. Ne-Yo cited the 1960s American group Rat Pack, particularly members Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. as influences, whose style inspired his clothes and music.[3][4] Explaining the album's title, he said he was "trying to take it back to where you couldn't walk out of the house unless you looked your best".[5] Commenting on the likes of the Rat Pack and Nat King Cole he commented that "they're suited and everything is right from top to bottom. Not saying it has to be a suit, 'cause clothes don't make the man — it's the attitude and person. The music needs to personify that.".[5] No featurings are present on the album, as previously announced, though "Single" also features as a version with New Kids on the Block on their album, The Block.

Although Ne-Yo has claimed that he wanted to "take a different direction" on the album by not making R&B sounds, however, according to Billboard magazine, "it seems he still has a heavy—yet welcome—case of the (rhythm and) blues on the finished product".[6] The scene in the background for the cover was shot at the million mansion, known as Pink Palace, in the Buckhead district of Atlanta, Georgia.[7]

Release and promotion[edit]

The first single, "Closer", was released on April 15. The song debuted at number twenty-two on the UK Singles Chart, and later reached number one. On Billboard's Hot 100, the song peaked at number seven, while it has reached number one on the Hot 100 Airplay chart.[8] The second single was supposed to be "Stop This World", but was replaced by "Miss Independent", which was released on August 11.[9] The physical release will be accompanied by a video which premiered on August 21 on Access Granted.[10] Both of these songs are produced and co-written by Stargate. The album was re-released on December 3, 2008 in Japan, featuring the original Japanese bonus tracks, "What's The Matter" and "She Got Her Own" (featuring Fabolous & Jamie Foxx), as well as two remixes of "Closer" and an exclusive US iTunes track "In The Way" (track list on

The third single is confirmed to be "Mad" and goes for adds on Urban/Rhythmic on October 14, 2008.[11] A video has been made for song "She Got Her Own" and is the official international single. On May 21, 2008—months before the album's release—Ne-Yo performed the ballad "Stop This World" on the ABC soap opera All My Children. Appearing as himself, Ne-Yo sang the song during the lavish wedding ceremony of supercouple Jesse and Angie Hubbard.[12] The fourth single is confirmed to be "Part of the List". The music video is shot in Prague on March 22.[13] Director is TAJ of the Popular Kid. Video produced by Andrew Listermann of Riveting Entertainment.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[15]
The A.V. ClubC+[16]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[17]
The Guardian4/5 stars[18]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[19]
PopMatters7/10 stars[20]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[21]
Slant Magazine3/5 stars[22]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[23]
Vibe4/5 stars[24][14]

Year of the Gentleman became his most well received album at the time. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 79, which indicates "generally favorable" reviews, based on 12 reviews.[14] In her review for Rolling Stone, Caryn Ganz stated that "the 28-year-old singer-songwriter says his latest collection of heartfelt love songs is a tribute to the Rat Pack's pressed-suit style, but it's actually a superb concept album about what a great boyfriend he can be."[21] Vibe's Brad Wete wrote that Ne-Yo "is a stronger, more confident man than the one many remember licking his wounds" on his previous work.[24] Newsday writer Glenn Gamboa gave it an A- rating and wrote "for the bulk of the album, Ne-Yo has simply honed his hit-making skills, churning out one memorable melody after another, building an album that finally lives up to the potential he only hinted at on his first two releases, both lyrically and vocally."[25]

Amy Linden of The Village Voice said that the album "reconfigures 'grown and sexy' by detailing relationships with an often uneasy mix of heartache, reflection, wit, lust, and resignation."[26] Steve Jones from USA Today found that "considering how many hit songs he generates for other artists, it's a testament to his attention to storytelling detail that he has so much good material for himself [...] To his credit, he keeps his disc guest star-free, despite his A-list outside collaborations. In just over two years, he has shown significant growth through three worthy albums, hinting that he may only be scratching the surface of his potential."[23] Robert Christgau gave the album a rating of honorable mention ((2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention)),[27] indicating a "likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy".[28] However, Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson found it "musically uneven and ballad-heavy,"[22] while Nathan Rabin, writer for The A.V. Club, noted that Ne-Yo's "winning groove devolves into a rut, and his quiet storm gets awfully sleepy."[16]

Commercial performance[edit]

Year of the Gentleman debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with 250,000 copies sold making his first album not to debut at number one on the chart.[29] The album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, giving Ne-Yo his highest-charting album in the UK, beating Because of You, which debuted at number six in 2007. In Japan, the album debuted at number one and has thus far sold over 200,000 copies and in the UK 100,000 copies in its first week.[30][31] The album has since been certified platinum in the UK.[32]

Track listing[edit]

Year of the GentlemanStandard edition[33]
2."Nobody"SmithKirven Arrington3:07
3."Single"Polow da Don4:18
  • Smith
  • Hermansen
  • Eriksen
  • Stargate
  • Ne-Yo[a]
5."Miss Independent"
  • Smith
  • Hermansen
  • Eriksen
  • Stargate
  • Ne-Yo[a]
6."Why Does She Stay"Stereotypes4:33
7."Fade into the Background"
  • Smith
  • Shomari "Sho" Wilson
8."So You Can Cry"Syience4:18
9."Part of the List"Chuck Harmony4:09
10."Back to What You Know"
  • Smith
  • Hermansen
  • Eriksen
  • Beite
  • Stray
  • Stargate
  • Ne-Yo[a]
11."Lie to Me"Taylor4:27
12."Stop This World"
  • Smith
  • Harmon
  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • "She Got Her Own" contains portions of "My Baby Understands", as written and performed by Donna Summer.


Credits for Year of a Gentleman adapted from Allmusic.[35]



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[55] Gold 40,000^
Italy (FIMI)[56] Gold 35,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[57] Platinum 250,000^
Saudi Arabia[58] Gold 3,000
New Zealand (RMNZ)[59] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[60] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[61] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Table of release dates, formats, editions and record labels
Region Date Label Format Editions
Japan[62] September 11, 2008 Universal International CD, digital download Standard
Germany[63] September 12, 2008 Def Jam
United Kingdom[65] September 15, 2008 Mercury
United States[33] September 16, 2008 Def Jam
Brazil[66] October 21, 2008 Universal Music


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  5. ^ a b Reid, Shaheem (2008-03-18). "Ne-Yo, Hard At Work On Third LP, Makes Time For Lindsay Lohan 'Challenge'". MTV News. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
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  10. ^ My "Miss Independent" Video Is Gonna Be Hot!
  11. ^ "FMQB: Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Nielsen Ratings, Music News and more!".
  12. ^ Lang, Derrik J. (2008-04-25). "Ne-Yo to appear on 'All My Children'". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  13. ^ "Music Video News". Video Static. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  14. ^ a b c "Year of the Gentleman". Metacritic. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
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  16. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (2008-09-29). "Ne-Yo: Year Of The Gentleman". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
  17. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (2008-09-19). "Year of the Gentleman Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  18. ^ Macpherson, Alex (2008-09-11). "Urban review: Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman". The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  19. ^ Wood, Mikael (2008-09-16). "Still obsessed, yet earnest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  20. ^ Joseph, Mike (2008-11-04). "Ne-Yo: Year of the Gentleman". PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
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  28. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2009-06-15.
  29. ^ Katie Hasty (September 24, 2008). Metallica Edges Ne-Yo, Nelly To Remain No. 1 Billboard. Accessed September 24, 2008.
  30. ^ "オリコンランキング". ORICON STYLE.
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  56. ^ "Italian album certifications – Ne-Yo – Year of the Gentleman" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select "2012" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Year of the Gentleman" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
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  60. ^ "British album certifications – Ne-Yo – Year of the Gentleman". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Year of the Gentleman in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
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External links[edit]