Here I Am: Deluxe Edition
Kelly Rowland's third album, following a split with manager Mathew Knowles and label Columbia, is as much of a patchwork as 2007s Ms. Kelly. Theres an extensive cast of producers and songwriters, as well as a handful of guest MCs. The set aims at the R&B, pop, and dance markets with clear distinctions, so several songs sound like isolated projects rather than pieces of a whole. That said, there is a little more focus on appealing to hip-hop and R&B radio. Pre-album single Motivation creeps and slinks so efficiently that the Lil Wayne verse and Rowlands vocal -- apart from Go, go, go, go -- are immaterial. The following three tracks straddle pop and R&B with appealingly busy productions, some of Rowlands most forward and energizing performances, not to mention a high level of arrogance that suits her very well. Those familiar with her guest appearances on French house producer David Guetta's One Love wont be surprised by the singers decision to retain modern Donna Summer as one of her modes. Commander, produced by Guetta with his typical thump-and-whoosh flair, was released as a single in 2010 and topped the club charts in the U.K. and U.S. The newer Down for Whatever, produced by RedOne, Jimmy Joker, and the WAV.s, is a more frictional Euro-dance number that deserves equal attention. Although very eclectic taste is required to appreciate in full, this is clearly Rowlands brightest, most confident album yet. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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