Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kelly Rowland- Here I Am (Album Review)

Even with two decent solo albums and a few hit singles under her belt, Kelly Rowland has not yet been very well-received in her native country. It must have been very difficult to break out from the shadow of her ex-band mate, the uber-talented Beyonce, considering B always took the centre stage during “Destiny’s Child” days and subsequently became one of the biggest artists in the world. With “Here I am”-an interesting title for a third album- Ms Rowland seems prepared and looks ready to finally claim her fame in the US of A and hopefully the entire globe. With this album, she has also successfully shed this sweet girl-next-door image, got herself a boob-job, gone naked on the cover art and sung songs about fornication and orgasm. Well done! Sex sells, right? I don’t blame her. “Motivation”, her current Rn’B # 1 single, is something Janet Jackson would sing during “Velvet Rope” era. Kelly sings “Oh lover, don’t you dare slow down. Go longer, you can last more rounds. Push harder, you're almost there now. So go lover, make mama proud”- her delivery, sexy and smooth. Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins-produced “Turn It Up” and “Down For Whatever” crafted by the producer of the moment, Red One (Yep, Lady GaGa adoringly sings his name on her hit "Just Dance"), are pure club-bangers that could eventually become her next singles.

Aside from these two, Kelly  has made the right move by teaming up with hottest producers like  C. "Tricky" Stewart on “I’m Dat Chick”( I find that track trying too hard… just a little),  The Runners on “All Of The Night” and Rico Love on “Motivation” and “Feeling Me Right Now” (narcissistic self-love anthem, a favorite of mine cos’ it sounds FRESH!) 
The best track, I must say though, is “Commander”, her collaboration with David Guetta. They have effectively recreated the magic of “When Love Takes Over (2009)”, the song that set gay prides and dance floors around the world on fire and brought Kelly her second Grammy as a solo artist. I wish she should have put more songs like this on the album. 

Kelly Rowland’s voice is that of a summer wine; lively, refreshing and elegant with a bit of crisp finish. I am positive that she is capable of letting her beautiful voice bounce up on a dance track or shining it bright on a power ballad (although I was a bit disappointed to find no ballad on the set except for a slow jam called “Keep It Between Us”). Obviously this album is not about her voice. It is about staying current and being radio-friendly so she could reach out to millions. And generally I believe she has achieved that goal with this quality urban record.  So.. GaGa, Rihanna and Ke$ha, scoot down a bit and make some room for Ms.Kelly.

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