OK. Time for some R&B/Pop/Urban music. Keri Hilson and Ciara are both releasing albums this month. Ciara has been in the game for a minute now with her last album not matching the success of her previous efforts, and Keri Hilson has to stop and doubts after her first album’s sales weren’t stellar but had some great singles. So who wins outta the 2 girls?
Keri Hilson’s sophomore album, No Boys Allowed, is not breaking ground not heard on her debut …In a Perfect World, in fact, it plays it even safer this time around. Hilson’s album is nothing not heard before, with the exception of “The Way You Love Me.” “Lose Control” is a highlight, but has a sound already heard on Rihanna’s “Te Amo” with the same producer, Stargate. “One Night Stand” is another highlight, a collaboration with Chris Brown, but sounds like I’ve heard it before on songs like Alienated from Keri’s debut album. Much of the production doesn’t feel fresh but like an artist trying to remain relevant but a few months always too late. Producers Timbaland, Danja, and Polow da Don have been around for a while now and bring nothing new or exciting to the table, possibly with the exception of Timbaland’s “Beautiful Mistake” that doesn’t sound as Timbaland-y as usual but with uses of 80s synths in a good way. Boa-1da is the most exciting producer here, working with the likes of Drake, but still doesn’t thrill. In a Perfect World was a solid, but not amazing, debut for Keri Hilson and this feels like a sophomore slump in comparison. The featured guests aren’t as acclaimed, the production feels tired, and Keri does not seem as creative or into the songs like she did on “Energy” or “Return the Favor” and no one near as perfect as Hilson’s best song “Turnin Me On.”
Now. On to Ciara’s Basic Instinct. This album has been getting release dates for a year now, with the first single “Ride” being released in April. Finally the album arrives and is not bad considering how most albums end up after a string or release dates. The key to this success is the use of The Dream and Tricky as producers/writers to help keep a flow through out the album. I’ve always thought Ciara has been underrated, “Goodies,” “1,2 step”, “Like a Boy,” and “Love, Sex, Magic” were all amazing singles and the girl can dance better than Gaga, Britney, Christina, Rihanna, etc. She is up there with Janet…. just saying. Now Basic Instinct is supposed to bring her back to the streets after the pop album Fantasy Ride. That album was an undeserved flop with brilliant songs including “High Price” feat Ludacris. Luda is back again with the awesome single, and one of the songs on heavy rotation on my summer playlists, “Ride.” A sexy, dirty, slow, thumping song that I don’t get sick of. It is unique to Ciara too, no others sound like it currently. The rest of the album includes the back to the street “Basic Instinct (U Got Me”, never letting up dance of “Gimme Dat,” sexy and perky “Heavy Rotation”, the “Goodies” sequel of sorts “Yeah I Know”, the bluntly pop “Turn It Up” which features another r&b star-gone-pop, Usher. “Wants for Dinner” is very original and unlike anything I’ve heard in a while with a swagger singing “You can entertain him all day long, but Im what he wants for dinner.” “Speechless” is a sexy and catchy song that has remained in my head. Out of the eleven songs, I really enjoy seven of them. Not Bad. All songs are truly Ciara songs, they are not like katy/rihanna/kesha songs that can blend together but are sultry, sexy and full of swagger. Ciara has made a great r&b/pop album for 2010/2011. Now only if she was promoted and marketed as the princess of pop she is…