Thursday, December 30, 2010

Keyshia Cole “Calling All Hearts”

I have to admit that after reading all of the other reviews of this album I was reluctant to listen to it, much less review it, but I’m thankful I did. Forget the nonsense you read in all the other reviews about this album and listen to it for yourself and form your own opinion. Personally, I like the album from beginning to end. Keyshia has matured and shed some of the pain we were used to hearing with her every word. Not to say she has lost her edge, on the contrary, I believe this is the album that illustrates she has moved on to a better place in her life.

“I Ain’t Through” is an ice record but with Nicki Minaj jumping in right off the top screaming Young Money it made me wonder how Keyshia’s label feels about that. I think it’s disrespectful to do that when asked to collaborate with another artist on another label. I’ve since heard that Keyshia has expressed regret in doing the song with Nicki Minaj. Nevertheless, the song is a great jump-off for the album. “Long Way Down” is a definite highlight of the album in part thanks to the production talents of the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. “Tired of Doing Me” launches immediately with the voice of Tank and is an amazing compliment to the voice of Keyshia Cole. She really comes through with power that has truly refined into a professional vocal prowess. Keyshia’s collaboration with Faith Evans is reminiscent of a throwback Mary J Blige flavor and is oddly enough built around the sample of Biggies “Warning”. “So Impossible” is one of my favorite songs from the entire album and for those familiar with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis I think you will recognize the signature sound of the dynamic production duo. The acoustic guitar leading into “Sometimes” is beautiful and Keyshia does a great job of not trying to overpower the song, but rather allow it to build. The breakdown at the 2:51 mark is just dope. I love attention to arrangement like that.

“Take Me Away” picks up the pace, but doesn’t break away from the character of the album. My only complaint would be her presumptuous claim “this is a new hit for the radio…just another song for the dancefloor”. DJs don’t need instructions – we let the crowds determine what’s a hit for the dance floor. “What You Do To Me” has a bit of an old school classic vibe to it that I really dug. Actually, I think the entire album has that kind of vibe. This is for grown folks sharing a night of romance and it’s nice to have that kind of material still being created. Right up until “Last Hangover” starts up – then the mood changes.

I like that Timbaland is popping up on more and more albums recently, but I didn’t think he really added any value to Keyshia’s album with “Last Hangover”. It honestly feels out of place. I hate to say it, but skip over Timbaland’s “Last hangover” and you’ll keep the groove going with the song “Thank You” which is a song giving thanks and glorifying God. “Thank You” is one of the most touching songs of the album and definitely another top pick. “Better Me” wraps up the album with an almost Country vibe. That lean towards Country music was a turn off for me and had me thinking she should have given that song to a country singer.

Overall, I liked the album and scoff at the others that gave it such mediocre reviews. No this album will not be a club hit and it’s definitely not an album to bang out your trunk up and down the block. This album is for grown folks who are looking for a mature and classic R&B album. We all need some of that in our collections.

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