There isn’t a female R&B artist today who can walk a mile in Kelly Rowland’s shoes. For a woman who is perpetually pitted against her iconic ‘sister’ and former band mate, Beyoncé, Kelly hushes the trivial talk with enviable grace and a formidable new album of her own.
Talk A Good Game is unquestionably Rowland’s finest work yet. For anyone who has followed her solo career trajectory from day dot, this album is the pay off you have been waiting for.
It is a focussed and fully-realised modern R&B album, unlike its predecessor Here I Am which was faintly flawed by its forced inclusion of some Ibiza-raided dance numbers.
Kelly co-wrote every track (except the electrifying Jamie Foxx cover ‘Freak’) with some of the industry’s most in-demand writers and producers. Mike Will Made It (hitmaker for Miley Cyrus and Ciara) hemmed the cheeky cunnilingus anthem ‘Kisses Down Low’, which complements Rowland’s back catalogue of brazenly sexual songs. Even though it was the lead single, ‘Kisses’ is by no means representative of the broad topic Talk A Good Game covers.
Watch the video for Kelly’s single ‘Kisses Down Low’:
For the most part, this album conveys an honest and confessional tone on topics surrounding relationships, served with Kelly’s irrepressible southern belle sass.
The gritty standout track ‘Dirty Laundry’ has Rowland taking a tear-streaked flashback to an abusive relationship. The confronting lyrics ripped gossip blogs a new one, especially the lines that echoed her belittled self-esteem when Beyoncé’s career took off. “When my sister was on stage, killing it like a motherfucker. I was in rage, feelin’ it like a motherfucker… Bittersweet, she was up, I was down. No lie, I feel good for her but what do I do now? Forget the records, off the record I was going through some bullshit. Post-Survivor, she on fire. Who’d wanna hear my bullshit?”
Check out the video for ‘Dirty Laundry’:
‘Down On Love’ is one for the small hours spent in solitude when you’re mindlessly thumbing through Grindr and thinking to yourself, ‘What even is love, y’guyz?’. Despite the subtle pace, at its peak, this song packs some of Kelly’s most outstanding vocals on record yet.
Elsewhere, the alluring ‘Red Wine’ is a slow burning number, best served right after a meal of Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ and the bossy bonus track ‘Sky Walker’ (featuring The-Dream) boasts some of the most deliciously cocky lyrics I’ve heard all year. “You need a main girl that fucks you like a side chick, let go and stop fucking around.” She will take your man, honey.
Talk A Good Game strikes the perfect balance of my dream R&B album: slick, sexy and vulnerable.