Kelly Rowland: Talk A Good Game

kelly rowlandKelly Rowland
Talk A Good Game
(Universal Republic Records)

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Kelly Rowland’s fourth album finds the former Destiny’s Child returning to her R&B roots after experimenting with varying approaches on her first three releases. But Talk A Good Game still feels a bit confused conceptually, if not stylistically.  The socially conscious “Street Life” feels odd amongst the more personal and reflective tracks on the album, as does the sensual ode to cunnilingus, “Kisses Down Low,” as brilliant as that song may be.

The album’s strongest moment comes in the form of a ballad with “Dirty Laundry.” Rowland delivers an emotional performance reflecting on her jealousy of Beyonce and her personal demons during her Destiny’s Child days, including a manipulative and abusive relationship. The song is made more powerful and transformative by being followed by “You Changed,” a track featuring her former sisters Beyonce and Michelle Williams.

Ultimately, though, this juxtaposition of Bey’s voice with Kelly’s serves as a reminder that, despite having some great material, Rowland’s voice is rather forgettable. Even Williams, who is noticeably the weakest singer of the three, has a distinct and interesting timbre to her voice that Rowland lacks. For all the great tracks on Talk A Good Game, there is too much filler and forgettable material, and despite her best efforts, her voice is part of the problem.

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About Scott Interrante

Scott Interrante currently studies Musicology at CUNY Hunter College where he focuses on issues of gender in pop music. He also writes for PopMatters, The Absolute, and Dear Song In My Head. Scott is an avid Taylor Swift fan and is currently re-watching all of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix.
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