Year of the Gentlemen is Ne-Yo's third studio album that was released on September 16, 2008 by Def Jam Recordings & Compound Entertainment.
- Closer 3:54
- Nobody 3:07
- Single 4:17
- Mad 4:14
- Miss Independent 3:52
- Why Does She Stay 4:33
- Fade Into The Background 3:18
- So You Can Cry 4:17
- Part Of The List 4:09
- Back To What You Know 4:10
- Lie To Me 4:27
- Stop This World 4:25
- What's The Matter 3:46
- She Got Her Own (featuring Jamie Foxx and Fabolous) 5:32
"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, Ne-Yo 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."
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.
"Year of the Gentlemen" debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 with 250,000 copies sold during his first week.
"Year of the Gentleman" became his most well received album at the time.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 79, which indicates "generally favorable" reviews, based on 12 reviews.
In her review for Rolling Stone, Caryn Ganz stated that "the 28-year-old singer-songwriter says his latest collection of heartfelt love songs is a tribute to the Rat Pack's pressed-suit style, but it's actually a superb concept album about what a great boyfriend he can be."
Vibe's Brad Wete wrote that Ne-Yo "is a stronger, more confident man than the one many remember licking his wounds" on his previous work.
Newsday writer Glenn Gamboa gave it an A- rating and wrote "for the bulk of the album, Ne-Yo has simply honed his hit-making skills, churning out one memorable melody after another, building an album that finally lives up to the potential he only hinted at on his first two releases, both lyrically and vocally."
Amy Linden of The Village Voice said that the album "reconfigures 'grown and sexy' by detailing relationships with an often uneasy mix of heartache, reflection, wit, lust, and resignation."
Steve Jones from USA Today found that "considering how many hit songs he generates for other artists, it's a testament to his attention to storytelling detail that he has so much good material for himself [...] To his credit, he keeps his disc guest star-free, despite his A-list outside collaborations. In just over two years, he has shown significant growth through three worthy albums, hinting that he may only be scratching the surface of his potential."
Robert Christgau gave the album a rating of honorable mention, indicating a "likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy".
However, Slant Magazine's Eric Henderson found it "musically uneven and ballad-heavy" while Nathan Rabin from The A.V. Club, noted that Ne-Yo's "winning groove devolves into a rut, and his quiet storm gets awfully sleepy."