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The Rundown with Aryez

Keyshia Cole

Calling All Hearts

She has arguably been considered this generations’ Mary J Blige. From the-behind-the-scenes family feuding, to the vast potential she still carries with her sound, Keyshia Cole is showing that she could very well be that. Her talent tends to explode when facing adversity, such as Blige when you reminisce on the sounds of “What’s the 411”, “My Life” and “No More Drama” albums. Whether breaking off heart-wrenched relationships with her Young Jeezys, or mend the family ties with the Frankies and Neffes, she has continued to stand through it all and even find love with fiancé Daniel Gibson and a newborn son. After two platinum-certified albums, one gold-certified album and countless award nominations she is back for her fourth studio installment “Calling All Hearts”. In this edition of The Rundown with Aryez, we’ll find out if listeners will be responsive or if they might want to send her straight to voicemail…

“All Hearts” begins with The ARE produced “I Ain’t Thru” featuring Nicki Minaj and is the first single from the album. This song pays tribute to KC’s (as Keyshia is referred to as well) haters over witty xylophone, organ and drum rifts. Nicki offers a nice verse that helps exemplify the song’s subject matter that’s worth the time checking out. On “Long Way Down” produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E League (Rick Ross, Young Jeezy), she pleads for a love not to abandon the relationship, though swearing she won’t put up with the mistreatment. For those that remember Usher’s 2004 “Throwback” from his “Confessions” album, “Long Way Down” can be considered the ladies rebuttal. Faith Evans is featured on “If I Fall In Love Again” which producer Big Wy samples “Warning” from the Notorious B.I.G’s 1994 “Ready to Die” album. The clarity and maturity of having Evans on as the veteran songstress forces her to once again show she can hold her own with R&B’s female elite vocalists. This was also the case on “Trouble” which featured Monica on her album from 2008 “A Different Me”. This seems to be developing into a tradition that she incorporates on her albums now that fans will possibly expect from here on out.

“Confused In Love” produced by Chuck Harmony (Chrisette Michele, Jenna Andrews) as he encompasses heavy wind instrumentation on this track. “Take Me Away” produced by Chink Santana (Ashanti, Jim Jones) shows off her softer side and by the vocal arrangements the listener can easily hear this as being a track for Ashanti or even Mariah Carey. Other notable tracks worth listening to are “What You Do To Me”, “Last Hangover” (produced by Timbaland and speculated to be the next single), “Where Would We” and “Better Me”.

Throughout Keyshia’s music career, she continues to show growth vocally in how she carries notes and for how long which is a definite plus. “Take Me Away” and “Better Me” are good examples of this. The maturity of the album is also raised. Those twenty-five and under may take some time getting used to this as she outsources older producers such as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Ron Fair (who also executive produced the album). If you liked the content on her second album “Just Like You”, you’ll enjoy hearing the latest hurdles of love she races against. The two major disadvantages of the album fall particularly in these categories and it would include the tempo of the album, and the redundancy of the content. The overall sound of the album loathes in somber and the tempo can grow tiresome. For examples, listen to “Tired of Doing Me”, “So Impossible”, “Sometimes” and “What You Do To Me”. What saves the songs from losing the listener’s attention is her vocal presence but even this leads to the next downfall. This is the oversaturation of the broken heart subject. Granted, this tends to be her “thing” in that this is where she draws her energy for her singing ability and writing creativity but, the difference lays in the production variation. This was what had been expressed on her “The Way It Is” and “Just Like You” albums. Though the content was the same, the production helped to complement it such as making them dance songs (“Let It Go” featuring Missy Elliott and Lil’ Kim), club songs (“Shoulda Let You Go”), and even street-bangers (“I’ve Changed My Mind”). When she released the 2008 “A Different Me” listeners thought we were going to see a more fun Keyshia, but she’s clearly making it a point to let listeners know that this element of love (heart break) is what she wants to communicate most to her audience. Ultimately, whether fans are in love or not, they will want to avoid calls from the following:

Bill Collectors

Telemarketers

Keyshia Cole

-Aryez

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