By Jayson Rodriguez
Ne-Yo took over BET's "106 & Park" on Wednesday evening (July 14), premiering two story-driven videos, "Beautiful Monster" and "Champagne Life." The singer promised MTV News last month that the clips accompanying his forthcoming album, Libra Scale, would form part of a larger overall visual narrative.
" 'Beautiful Monster' is one piece of a very long and intricate story," Ne-Yo revealed. "When you see the first video, make sure that you're paying attention because all of the videos tell a story. So pay attention — you don't want to miss nothing."
Under Ne-Yo and Wayne Isham's (Madonna, Aaliyah, Adam Lambert) direction, the clips present the singer as a member of a crime-fighting trio called "The Gentlemen." Ne-Yo is granted otherworldly powers by a mysterious figure (Columbus Short), who assures the three blue-collar workers that their new powers will remain active so long as they don't fall in love.
In "Beautiful Monster," Ne-Yo is portrayed as a disheveled superhero, à la Will Smith in "Hancock," who must battle his former flame Princess Sinclair in order to save the world from danger. Fans later learn in the "Champagne Life" video that Ne-Yo's superhero and Sinclair were once romantically involved. As a result, she assumed some of Ne-Yo's powers, but in adverse fashion. The transfer turned Sinclair into Diamond Eye, a "crazy, psycho mass-murderer," as Short's character describes her.
Short's shadowy character revisits Ne-Yo, now four years after first granting him those special powers, and offers the star an ultimatum: Both Sinclair and her alter ego, Diamond Eye, must die to save the world or Ne-Yo must reverse her curse and give up his own life to save the world. The singer then sets off in search of his onetime love and must make the difficult decision.
" 'Beautiful Monster,' in a nutshell, represents the love interest/ archnemesis in the story [of] Libra Scale, which the entire album is based off of," Ne-Yo told MTV News about the theme of the LP, due September 21.
What did you think of the "Beautiful Monster" and "Champagne Life" videos? Let us know in the comments below!