Album Reviews

Kelly Rowland – Talk a Good Game

on June 24, 2013, 12:00am
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Follow me here: Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé are, respectively, the girl group Lennon-McCartney (with Michelle Williams basically the Ringo). By that I mean, regardless of songwriting or who was really the star, their dynamic was special and profound. But while Queen B is coming off her Band on the Run ish, Rowland’s latest, Talk a Good Game, is basically Lennon’s Some Time in New York City. Though, where Lennon’s “dud” was overly political, Rowland half-heartedly vamps it up with several befuddling missteps.

“Freak” is sexual solely for the scintillating electro beat, which Rowland tarnishes with passion-less lines like “You perform/ I cheer/ You scream/ No one hears.” And The-Dream-aided “Sky Walker”, which tantalizes with synth-pop and Chinese strings, lacks dynamic interplay between the pair; it’s only salvaged because of Dream’s excessive machismo. Other sexually-charged numbers (the cheap Weeknd knock-off “Red Wine”, the demoralizing “Put Your Name On It”) feel inorganic and contrived.

Still, the heavy pursuit of sexuality makes sense: Rowland is just trying to distance herself from the clean-cut Destiny’s Child (and yet somehow still profit from the “reunion” track “You Changed”). But where her sexuality failed, the confrontational “Dirty Laundry” dazzles. It’s a slightly more polished (and less hyperbolic) chapter of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet: it feels disjointed and over-stuffed, but she just goes off about the group’s end, her own insecurities, and living in Bey’s shadow. It’s so raw and visceral that we finely see her as intended: vulnerable, flawed, and totally real.

She tries replicating that authenticity, but there’s only the uber-cliché “I don’t care; we’re over” anthem “Gone” and the album’s superficially enjoyable title track, which Rowland approaches with some intriguing level of nuance.

Even after Some Time, Lennon remained an icon in the pop music mythos. While Rowland might not ever be as legendary, this LP demonstrates that she can be something profound if she confronts her issues. So, Kelly, to paraphrase Lennon, you can’t believe in Destiny’s, you must believe in you.

Essential Tracks: “Dirty Laundry”, “Sky Waker”

11 comments

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norbert osamo
June 29, 2013 at 10:11 am

Seriously who are these reviewers?? It’s so obvious that this reviewer knows nothing about RnB. I just don’t understand why this ignorant reviewer feels the need to put Kelly down. Just so he can feel better about his pathetic life?? Talk a Good Game is a classic RnB album with fantastic production, silky smooth vocals from Kelly, and meaningful lyrics. Kelly’s use of her sexuality as a theme in her songs is not sleaze, it’s about a woman feeling empowered enough to express herself sexually. It’s female empowerment at its highest form. Funny enough it’s mostly men with small penises like this reviewer that feel threatened by a woman’s sexuality and feel uncomfortable when a talented singer like Kelly sings about sex. The fact that this reviewer prefers ‘Skywalker’ because it involves The Dreams machismo fully displays this reviewer’s insecurities. Talk a Good Game is a great album and there’s at least 6 songs that are better than ‘Skywalker’. This reviewer has no idea what real RnB is and I’m glad people are intelligent enough to see his review for what it is, nonsense

Szabolcs Arkosi
June 29, 2013 at 4:03 am

get a 9-5 job man you better off!

Matt Decuir
June 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm

The author lost credibility with me when he said “Red Wine” was Weeknd-inspired. He’s either not listened to the song, or has never heard more than one Weeknd song.

I personally don’t think ANY of these songs sound like The Weeknd, but if I had to pick one, it would be “I remember” because it resembles Drake’s “Take Care” and Drake is influenced by The Weeknd. But seriously. His references seem all off.

I Love Kelly Rowland
June 25, 2013 at 10:50 am

“Kelly Rowland finally comes into her own on ‘Talk A Good Game’, her most focused, consistent and honest album to date”
BILLBOARD review

“Kelly Rowland’s ‘Talk a Good Game’ is triumphant, visionary R&B”
SPIN Magazine review

“Kelly Rowland finally finds herself on stellar new R&B album, ‘Talk A Good Game'”
VIBE Magazine review

Plus, the public is loving ‘Talk A Good Game’. That’s what really matters.

SKY WAKER? The name of the song is ‘Sky Walker’. Before write a review, at least buy (and really listen) the original album. It comes with the correct tags.

So, the reader should not take this site seriously. This site have no credibility.

inmyskin
June 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Ok, I normally do not comment on “industry” games whose sole agenda is to discourage true artistry in pursuit of money and control, but I must comment on this! Chris Coplan is a pawn in the game of industry propoganda for all artist that are not a part of the order! Yes, I said it!!! People, the artist’s job is to make music that is heartfelt and that the fans will love! Unfortunately, artists that don’t sell out to the corporate machine are forced out of the industry by turning the public’s perception away from them. This is why talented acts like Kelly Rowland garner hateful comments on blogs, twitter, and album reviews; while non talented artists are praised! Wake up people and form your own opinion, some of these artists need your support for more than the money, some are trying to make a statement that they will stay true to their artistry and themselves and will not be sell outs. Ever wonder why rap was phased out for Hip Hop (made more gentile to appease the masses for marketing purposes)? Look at all the major Hip hop artists and they have a corporate machine behind them, (i.e. headphones, sports drinks, tennis shoes, computers, soft drinks, clothing, etc…) Many artists keep talking about R&B making a comeback, but why is this? Country music has never been phased out and been in need of a comeback, maybe it’s because country music artists have been in bed with corporations for years (Automobile industry, tobacco, etc..)! IJS

Treasure
June 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm

YOUVE MADE SOME AWESOME POINTS!!!!!

Duane Day
June 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Who the heck is Chris Coplan and why is he writing reviews? The album is hands-off one of the best albums heard in awhile. Each song tells a story, which is what music should be about. Kelly vocals are the best that I have ever heard, and the arrangement of each track was appropriately organized.

Generally, I try to be open-minded to other people commitments, but for someone to write a review comparing Kelly Rowland to John Lennon is ridiculous on many levels. The only similarities between the two is that they both have/had successful careers and fans who appreciated their music, regardless of the reviews such as this one.

Chris, for your next review, discuss how influential you are in the music industry.

Fred
June 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

What kind of bias shit is this? This album was awesome. I’m not up to giving praise when it’s undeserved so but she really went in on this album. R&B at it’s finest. I know the you probably want to listen to pop, EDM or whatever but if you don’t like R&B, I see no reason why you should review an R&B album.

Cos it seems like you don’t know anything about the genre.

PROF
June 24, 2013 at 10:23 am

The author is completely being bias. I get that you like the other group mate more, but this album has great sound quality! Her vocals are out of this world and untouched up might I add! Maybe because you can’t relate to it (some of the songs), does not make it subpar. OK, us adults, know what real R&B is (rhythm and blues), it tells of many different situations in your life. There is something for everyone in this album…the person who is battered and may not see their own value, it gives hope and comfort in knowing that it could happen to anyone (Dirty Laundry); the person dealing with trying to make ends meet in the recession (Street Life), the freaky lover (Freak); the couple in good old fashion love (Red Wine, Stand in Front of Me), the person trying to get up enough courage to leave someone who is not in their best interest (Gone and You Changed). This is about bringing some honesty back to the industry and let people become more relatable to superstars instead of being told that they are inferior to larger than life idols that currently have become the superstardom that is so out of touch!
Man, maybe I should have wrote this article instead….

Treasure
June 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Beautifully Said! I Could Not Agree More.

stefan
June 24, 2013 at 2:04 am

this is a horrible review…. maybe the author needs to clean their ears out !

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