In 1994, CeeLo Green was sick and tired of having to do without. In 2004, he was a sexed up soul machine on the verge of creative and mainstream breakthrough with Danger Mouse. In 2015, he’s a recluse who’s spent months going through his favorite TV shows and adding female orgasms and moans to their theme songs.
A few hours ago, a random Soundcloud link appeared on Twitter with the promise that it was an unreleased CeeLo Green project titled TV On The Radio. Since CeeLo wobbles along that bridge of creative genius and social pariah, his raw talent is the first point of discussion for any new release. Even when he’s not being a feather-suited lothario or taking Bruno Mars reference songs into absurd heights, CeeLo is always wanting to stretch his creativity even further.
TV On The Radio makes me feel like I’m 14, scrolling through TV Land shows and arcs while wondering when the hell is Mama’s Family going to come on. Flips of the Taxi theme for the sultry “Taxi Cab Confessions (Sign Of The Times” see Green in-tune with every note: “I swear sometimes I hear a ghost in the radio / I went from station to station searching for somewhere safe to go.” There are also riffs on “Knight Rider,” “Charlie Brown,” and more, all twisted and touched upon with CeeLo’s distinct flair for love and the absurd.
The real fun on TV On The Radio is found near the end, with Green dancing and twirling with the Peanuts theme for “You’re A Good Man Mr. Green,” inviting us all to spasm out and attempt to dance the Charlie Brown jig. All shoulders, no hands please. “Dance little children,” CeeLo roars. “I said dance little children!”
How the project came about remains a relative mystery. CeeLo hasn’t done anything on social media in months and hasn’t been seen or in the spotlight since his time as a judge on The Voice concluded. Yet here he is, unmistakably. He’s always been a peacock of color and range. But him singing the words “Seems like a million years ago but you haven’t changed, that’s amazing,” with gusto on top of the theme for Family Ties of all things is like when certain songbirds find their sweet spots again.
Brandon Caldwell is a writer living in Houston. Follow him on Twitter.