Upon first hearing the album, you're not taken aback. The material is good, but good is far from great and further from excellent, which Ne-Yo is definitely capable of (check his track record with other artists).
Exploring subjects such as post-argument sex on "When You're Mad," and erotic fun; making love in front of a mirror ("Mirror"), Ne-Yo displays a more suave approach to sexual R&B songs. The album has its dramatic moments, and the production varies quite nicely, however Ne-Yo's talent lead expectations for the album to be better than it is.
Songs like "Sign Me Up" and "It Just Ain't Right" seem like they could do very well as singles, and though the songs are enjoyable, they feel all too simple.
Arguably the best song on "In My Own Words" is "Time," a passionate and heartfelt ballad about a relationship that ended due to neglect. Ne-Yo's ability to dictate the listener's mood aren't more apparent than here. "Sexy Love" is another gem, in which Ne-Yo reminds us of Michael Jackson in his prime, with a modern twist.
As one of the first sites to really showcase Ne-Yo, here at MVRemix we were all very excited to hear Ne-Yo's debut album. The promise of this young, articulate and musically educated singer is phenomenal. However, the album falls short of those expectations.
A lot of mainstream orientated R&B is categorized as such because it's fairly formulaic. A straight forward simple concept and obvious lyrics rest above a catchy beat, and though "So Sick" had listeners eager for Ne-Yo to say or do something new, "In My Own Words" doesn't go that route.