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After premiering “Dirty Laundry,” a personal song that made headlines, Kelly Rowland had more to say in her new album, Talk a Good Game, just not as deep and emotional as the single. For most of the album, Rowland is a jilted lover, looking back on the past. Only a few songs stand out in this album full of slow-paced, poorly produced songs. Rowland didn’t go the extra mile; she is missing something special in nearly every song.
Verses from Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, The Dream and Beyonce are what give the album a little flavor, and without them, the album would definitely lack excitement. Rowland tries to be a powerhouse, but her vocals cannot reach the mark.
The album starts off with “Freak,” a dark pop song with a melody reminiscent of “Thriller” by Michael Jackson that’s probably the most thrilling off the album. Next is “Kisses Down Low,” a transparently honest song about how Rowland likes it in bed. Featuring Wiz Khalifa, “Gone” samples lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” that shows Rowland’s moderate vocal range and a finger-snapping beat accompanied by a soft piano.
Like most of the songs, the beats and production don’t match the content of the song, especially in “Down On Love,” a storytelling song with a dance beat where Rowland sings, “I need someone to pick me up because I’ve been down on love.” The dance beat in “I Remember” is also not necessary.
The best songs on the album either have heartbreaking lyrics, a powerful chorus or a Destiny’s Child reunion. “Dirty Laundry” has Rowland spilling out everything from her abusive relationship to being envious of Beyonce’s success. It’s completely unexpected coming from Rowland who usually has songs that lack lyrical depth.
Starting off with an electronic organ, “This Is Love” has a loud and clear chorus with a beautiful melody with optimistic lyrics that differ from the other lines of abandonment and dying love.
“Ladies, you wanna do it again?” asks Beyonce in the beginning of “You Changed,” the anticipated Destiny’s Child reunion. Rowland and Beyonce switch up verses, but much like the Child days, Beyonce’s verse overpowers Rowland’s as the “Crazy in Love” singer growls and shows off her voice. But at least it features class Destiny’s Child background harmonies.
Featuring Pusha T, “Street Life” isn’t too terrible as it features tribal beats, trumpet blasts and a blaring bridge, but it’s lost in the surrounding songs “Red Wine,” “Sky Walker,” “Put Your Name On It” and “#1” which is the complete last half of the album.
Talk a Good Game does the opposite of its title: it whispers badly. There’s only a few special moments in the 15 tracks presented by Rowland, and it’s not worth trying to find them. Most of the songs aren’t memorable, and maybe if Rowland would have been rawer like in “Dirty Laundry” for this whole album, it could have been excellent. But instead, dull dance beats and washed out lyrics overshadowed the work Rowland put into her one good song.