Having recently released her fourth studio album, we can safely say Kelly Rowland has fully stepped out of the Destiny Child shadow, making her mark as a solo artist. While a lot of talk surrounded her revealing image on the album cover, it all creatively ties back to her music. This time, Kelly is ready to vulnerably put it all out and tell her story through her music. Talk A Good Game opens up with the Danja produced track “Freak“, and the heavily synth driven track is in every way self-descriptive. The successful Mike Will Made It single, “Kisses Down Low“, quickly follows keeping in line with the albums sensual theme. Also enjoying commercial success is the controversial single “Dirty Laundry“, which certainly got everyone talking. On it, Kelly continues to open up about her personal struggles from being in an abusive relationship to having rage against ex-band mate and “sister” Beyonce.
Most of the album hosts a collection of classic R&B sounds and one of my favorites from the lot however, would have to be “Down On Love” produced by The Runners. The track boasts songwriting credits from Jermaine Jackson, Kevin Cossom and Kelly herself among other. Keeping in line with the overall theme of Talk A Good Game, the narrative on “Down On Love” – somewhat cliché – talks on being in a disappointing and heartbreaking relationship. The track is backed by a rich production filled with well-laid lush beats, led by infectious drum patterns and trippy synths. Kelly’s crisp vocals provide the missing piece that makes for a great listen.
Talk A Good Game has quite a number of artist features, from Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T and Kevin Cossom to Pharell and The Dream but no other feature on the album trumps the one on “You Changed“. The song features her former Destiny’s Child members – Beyonce Knowles & Michelle Williams. With Kelly taking the lead this time, the trio reunites on the “independent women” themed song that takes us back to their old sounding melodies over a slow-burning musical backdrop of soft keyboard and bass guitar arrangements with a deft drum pattern. It was truly refreshing to hear the girls back together again and we remain hopeful for a reunion album in the future.
One of the more mature – sans the blatant sensual lyrics – songs on the album has to be “Red Wine“. Stepping away from the traditional R&B sound, “Red Wine” brings a nice chilled mid-tempo vibe to the album. The song is definitely different from Kelly’s sound but she vocally pulls it off. The mellow instrumentals with a clean patterned beat, delicate cymbals and astral calming tones unifies in harmony for the more enjoyable tunes off the album.
Keeping to formula as with her previous works, Kelly usually dabbles in a few genres ensuring the album has something for everyone. Tracks such like “Street Life“, which features a southern beat and “Feet to The Fire“, which is more Pop/R&B are just a few that offer something other than traditional R&B. This album shows a more refined sound and growth in Kelly’s music and with Talk A Good Game, she may just have finally found what kind of music she wants to make. Opening up and expressing herself also makes her more real and her music more relatable to us listeners. Be sure to grab a copy of Talk A Good Game.
Purchase: Talk A Good Game (iTunes)