Album review: Kelly Rowland - Ms. Kelly

Album review: Kelly Rowland - Ms. Kelly | Random J Pop

When Kelly Rowland arrived with her debut Simply deep a few years ago, I think it's safe to say that many were both surprised and unimpressed. Whilst the alternative guitar driven angle suited her voice, the album lacked a punch and a killer single and as a result it skated right out of the charts and had everybody awaiting Beyoncé's release instead. This time around Kelly has opted for an R&B record. The result being an album which allows her to be taken seriously as a solo artist. Although her album sales hardly reflect that.

The album kicks off with "Like this" which is a track you either love, hate or are unsure of at first but grow to like. Whilst it makes a good single and is guaranteed to get you dancing, it isn't a representation of the entire album. This is Ms. Kelly all over. No one song is a representation of the album as a whole, as each song is different from the last. The album kicks off with 3 club tracks back to back and then gradually winds down from there. "Like this" sets things off nicely. "Comeback" hits with its in your face chords and gurgling synths and "Work" bounces along with its percussive beat and a kick arse vocal lacing by Kelly. "Work" is definitely the song that'll have all the girls shaking their arses and have the guys leaning.

Whilst the club records are great, it's the mid-tempos that shine the brightest. The mid-tempos's are also the most interesting lyrically as they all focus on either the dawning of a relationship or the breakdown of one - which has you wondering whether they are autobiographical. (Kelly was engaged, but separated from her fiancee a year before Ms. Kelly released). Out of these songs are 3 major highlights. The first being "Still in love with my ex". Hot drums, a strummy guitar and smooth vocals make this a winner. Kelly punk'd herself by not releasing this as a single. Second is "Love", with its sparse tabla and piano driven melody, brilliant lyrics written by none other than Beyoncé's younger sister (Solange) and a cracking vocal performance by Kelly. Finally is "This is love". This track stands out because it is unlike any other song on the album. Fans of the acoustic and alternative style of Simply deep will definitely like this. A stripped down song with nothing but strings and a guitar. It's a beautiful song and really showcases what a pretty, emotive and powerful voice Kelly has.

What sells this album aside from the solid production is that Kelly sings with so much confidence. She's truly come leaps and bounds and has never sounded better. Ms. Kelly is definitely an upgrade for Kelly if ever there was one. Unfortunately for Kelly, the album bombed seriously hard. But you should never measure the quality of an album by how many units it sells. Even if Ms. Kelly doesn't go on to win 5 Grammy's and sell 10 million copies worldwide, it's still a much better album than all 3 of Beyoncé's combined. It was a shame Kelly went on to record "No man no cry" and "Love again" after the original issue of this album dropped, as they would've made this album even better.

It's a shame that despite putting out such a solid album, in a few years time Kelly could end up working at a McDonald's drive thru, with Michelle Williams as her shift supervisor.

RATING: 8 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Like this
■ Comeback
■ Work
■ Flashback
■ Every thought is you
■ Interlude
■ Still in love with my ex
■ Better without you ★ J's fave
■ Love
■ This is love


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