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Kelly Rowland – Talk a good game

  • Release date: 13 June 2013
  • Label: Universal Republic Records

Kelly Rowland had moderate early success as a solo artist, but her releases seemed reactive to the climate of contemporary R&B — like she was either struggling to find her own voice, or was stifled by the industry.

On the track list, the ballad “Down on Love” comes before “Dirty Laundry,” serving as a kind of preface to the deep crap. It tells the story of another man who struggles with commitment and longs for someone good enough. Cloudy synths and a quick tempo transform ‘Gone’, a song by Joni Mitchell including a line from Janet Jackson, into a sleeper hit. K-Row’s possible suitors can use “Talk a Good Game” as a dating handbook, while the amazing “Red Wine” capitalises on her breathiness. The only song here that doesn’t deal directly with concerns of the heart is “Street Life,” with Pusha T, which sees her getting gritty over a balmy, ’70s-funk-meets-2070 Pharrell production.

Speaking of: Inevitably, Rowland reunites with her girls here, which feels like proof that the jealousy rumors were unfounded. “You Changed” is essentially a classic Destiny’s Child song, but each vocalist gets equal billing: Kelly Rowland, featuring Beyoncé and Michelle Williams. Better than recent trio single “Nuclear,” it’s got a midtempo funk bass line propelling the sisterhood to gang up on an unworthy dude so effectively that it’s the best girl-power break-up song that never dropped in ’99, and that’s no dis: It’s worthy of Destiny Child’s classic catalogue, their chemistry unscathed by time. It also makes sense to put a reunion joint on an album this good: A sliver above 2011’s hit Here I Am, this one shows that even when she’s going through hell, Rowland steps out with sure footing, a girl-next-door who belongs on top.

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Kelly Rowland’s Talk a good game tracklist

1. Freak
2 Kisses down low
3. Gone (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
4. Talk a Good Game (feat. Kevin Cossom)
5. Down On Love
6 Dirty Laundry
7. You Changed (feat. Beyoncé & Michelle)
8. I Remember
9. Red Wine
10. This Is Love
11. Street Life (feat. Pusha T)
12. Stand In Front of Me
13. Sky Walker (feat. The-Dream)
14. Put Your Name On It
15. #1