‘The girl that they used to know done changed’, Rowland proclaims on the fantastic album opener and lead single ‘Like This (ft. Eve)’. Indeed, the track- produced by Polow Da Don- is a departure from the more subdue sound Kelly featured on her last solo outing, 2002’s ‘Simply Deep’. Here, Rowland exudes a new found confidence that resonates throughout the album. The Scott Storch produced ‘Work (Put It In)’ – one of many highlights – best exemplifies this; with a pulsating beat and deliberately suggestive lyrics, Rowland doesn’t hold back.
‘Ms. Kelly’ particularly excels in its slower paced offerings. The whimsical ‘Flashback’ and confessional ‘Still in Love with My Ex’ see Rowland reflect on the harshness of love and break-ups. Vocally, Rowland’s delivery compliments the emotional pain and vulnerability the lyrics exude. Refreshingly, an alternate approach is taken to the prominent theme of relationships on the standout track ‘Love’. Produced by newcomers Mysto & Pizzi, Rowland sings ‘Love / It’s a cold, cold world out there/ When it rains it pours I swear’ with a distinct rawness in her delivery. ‘The Show’, a steamy duet with R&B crooner Tank also serves as another standout track.
Other notable songs include the laid-back Snoop Dogg collaboration ‘Ghetto’, whereby Rowland enlists the use of her upper-register to detail what she looks for in a man. Elsewhere, Kelly channels her ‘inner Brandy’ harmonically on the well-assembled ‘Better Without You’.
The album’s shortcomings are few and far between. However, it should be noted that the Storch produced ‘Comeback’ is somewhat letdown by questionable lyrics: ‘I got that Comeback / That Hubba Bubba’. Also, the, otherwise infectious, ‘Every Thought Is You’, may have benefited from Rowland vocally exerting herself more.
On this her second outing, Kelly Rowland has managed to establish herself as a credible solo star. ‘Ms. Kelly’ boasts a collection of great songs which convincingly convey Rowland’s own artistic merit; no longer is she stuck in anyone’s shadow. Sexy, sassy and confident, ‘Ms. Kelly’ is definitely worth purchasing.
‘Ms. Kelly’ is released in Europe June 25th & in the US July 3rd
Will you be buying ‘Ms. Kelly’?