Someone’s got a rocket ship and they’re not afraid to use it. As big as Ne-Yo is, we have the feeling he's poised to explode into the stratosphere with his new album out in September.

But first we have the debut single, “Beautiful Monster.” The track, co-written and co-produced with Stargate, is a total electronic, space age-y, hand-clap creation and the contrast between the sterility of the music and the warm vulnerability of his voice is exhilarating.  We feel like he may jet pack into the atmosphere at any point.

Like many of Ne-Yo’s hits, “Beautiful Monster” mines the territory between love and hate. He’s in love with a woman, who’s “playing with his heart and playing with his mind.” But in the time-honored tradition of such songs as the great “Use Me” by Bill Withers,  Ne-Yo doesn’t mind at all, and, in fact, wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a slow groove, hypnotic song that doesn’t have the melodic lifts and charms of his past hits, but it’s compelling in its own way. He also throws in little exhalations that recall his musical idol, Michael Jackson.
So open your ears and listen as Ne-Yo tries on something a little different from what he’s served us before.

And while you’re on MySpace, click on the link to his ballad “Mad.” It’s been played a staggering 99 million times. Don’t you want to be the click that makes it 100 million?