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. 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, The Stereotypes, 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 and was 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 Canada, 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. In support 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. 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”. 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.”. 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”. 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.
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. The second single was supposed to be “Stop This World”, but was replaced by “Miss Independent“, which was released on August 11. The physical release will be accompanied by a video which premiered on August 21 on Access Granted. 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 hmv.co.jp)
The third single is confirmed to be “Mad” and goes for adds on Urban/Rhythmic on October 14, 2008. 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. The fourth single is confirmed to be “Part of the List“. The music video is shot in Prague on March 22. Director is TAJ of the Popular Kid. Video produced by Andrew Listermann of Riveting Entertainment.