Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kelly Rowland
Here I Am: Deluxe Edition [2011]
3.5/5

After years of one off singles, Kelly has finally taken the time to put together another solo album. Kelly found a lot of success outside of America when she jumped from r&b to dance music after being featured on songs with David Guetta and The Freemasons, but Kelly's newest album takes a surprising leap backwards to her old skool r&b days.
I've enjoyed a few of Kelly's dance songs over the last few years, but i'm glad 'Here I Am' is an r&b record. As much as i like the current sweep of dance music all over the world, it's refreshing to hear a straight up urban album that doesn't sound like everything else that's on radio atm. Not that the album offers any sort of grand production that we haven't heard before, it's all very generic, but as an r&b music fan, it's nice to hear this early 2000 sound back on the radio.

The album isn't completely dance free, it does feature the Guetta produced single , 'Commander' and another euro track, 'Down For Whatever'. The rest of the album is pretty much straight up r&b though. The best songs on the album are the faster ones. 'I'm Dat Chick' is an amazing way to open the record, and other tracks like 'Work It Man' and 'Turn It Up' are fun club bangers.
The album is also fantastically over-sexed, which may be eye rolling for some as being a cheap way to sell the record, but i always enjoy that sort of stuff, so it doesn't bother me.

Where the albums suffers a little is with the ballads. They aren't terrible, but most of them are boring and a bit too generic. The only two that stand out for me are, 'Feeling Me Right Now' and of course the sexy, 'Motivation', which reminds me a lot of an old skool 90's slow jam.

Another issue with the standard edition of the album is how short it is. After so many years since her last album, and after releasing so many one off singles, you'd think they'd have enough material to bulk up the record with more than just 10 songs??? The last 2 tracks on the record do stick out like a sore thumb since they aren't r&b, why not just add 2 or 4 more dance tracks to give the ending of the record a bigger euro dance finish?
The deluxe comes with a few decent bonus tracks that help fatten up the track listing, 'Each Other' is a hot mid-tempo club track, and the urban mix of 'Commander' is a nice bonus, however, with so many singles out there with her name attached to them, they could have easily given us a bit of what has been on offer from her over the years. She has a new single called, 'What A Feeling', which isn't on the record, even though it's all over radio outside of the U.S. It's a bit odd how all over the place she is atm with her music.

Minor gripes aside though, 'Here I Am' is a decent enough effort from Kelly, and certainly a big step up from her last record, 'Ms. Kelly' which was a really uninteresting and boring album. 'Here I Am' may not get any points for being unique, but it at least does generic well, and Kelly has a great voice.
Play Beyonce's '4' for some good slow r&b this year, play Kelly's new one for some good r&b club tracks.

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