Kelly Rowland - Here I Am
The X Factor’s most committed executioner takes time out from counting her When Loves Takes Over royalties to get all solo on us. Not so much a lengthy labour of love, more of a ‘project’ (ugh), you can sense the industry, speed of construction and unstoppable efficiency of an album featuring a phalanx of co-workers and seemingly dozens of tracks. When this kind of stuff hits the TMF mat we groan not because we balk at the genre (quite the opposite - Destiny’s Child’s Survivor, a loopy, irresistible behemoth of urban dance pop fires us up every time), but because we end up groaning at the execution. If only the US r ‘n’ b pop squad could focus on knocking together, for once, a package of 10 or 11 belters rather than an epic, attention-sapping hour’s worth.
Sure, it’s all rather slick, Kelly’s vocals are on the mark and the odd tune emerges – ‘Down For Whatever’ is a sure fire hit. But the whole affair has a phoned-in quality. As usual, the song writing credits (committee-sized and the leading lady unsurprisingly absent) confirm your suspicions. That aside, those of us who find the whole sexuality versus religious faith conundrum so very fascinating will be drawn to the artfully posed photos of Ms. Rowland sans kit on the CD booklet. An impassioned thank you to the Lord on the sleeve notes adds frisson: those of us who don’t necessarily want to have our cake and eat it might just sniff double standards. “Ah! How wrong you are!” says Kelly, drawing her ‘Female Empowerment’ sword. “Bollocks,” says us.