Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In A Perfect World

After producing hits for an endless list of pop and R&B artists, songwriter and Clutch production team graduate, Keri Hilson's album In A Perfect World will be in stores soon. I've been trying to give myself a little bit of time to let it sink in instead of making a snap judgment because a snap judgment on this from me may not have given her her due. Keri is a talented singer and writer but her voice falls into a range where it isn't immediately interesting like some other popular R&B singers out at the moment. It isn't soulful and pleading like Jazmine Sullivan's, or taunting and bizzare like Rihanna's...I could go on but the reality is that on first listen her voice is almost boring and it tends to get lost in her precision beats. Like it's an album full of great songs that sound like they were recorded for other artists to select and re-record. However, you simply can't deny the production of the music and thankfully she has guests to fill out the roster so I find myself nodding along. So it's okay Keri, I forgive you.

The Breakdown

Intro - She reps her state, city, click The Clutch, and body. It's the same kinda shit talkin, slick talkin that got her in trouble with Beyonce and Ciara, allegedly. But it sounds nice.

Turnin Me On - The single that I hear 8 times a day at work. I'm sick of it but I guess that's just an indicator of success. Lil Wayne babbles at the end of it also but i'm not surprised to hear him anywhere. I become alarmed when I don't hear Weezy on a track, I wonder what happened and whether he's sick.

Set Your Money Up - It's nice to hear Keyshia Cole talkin slick on a fast track and Trina's on it too but this pretty much sounds like a gold diggers anthem. "We don't like them broke boys, we don't like them broke boys!"

Return the Favor - The melody reminds me of Timbaland and Keri's 'The Way I Are"...Timbo's also on the track and the two of them talkin about sexin each other is not my favorite thing at all.

Knock You Down - Great pop song. Yeezy and Ne-Yo really fill out the track and it sounds good and feels good. Kanye's back doing what made him a star...talkin bout Michael Jackson's crazy ass.

Slow Dance - Sexy, synth track. It sounds like something I would absolutely love to hear Tweet sing on but Keri does it justice.

Make Love - Whenever I hear this vocal arrangement I think 4 NonBlondes 'What's Up" But barring that (or because of it), I think it's a decent song. She manages to do this thing with her voice that gives it a raspy quality. It's still clean but this is one of the better vocalizations on the album. Kanye was obviously in the video to upset everyone.

Intuition - This track is about assuming your man ain't shit from before you get in the relationship. Even though I don't condone that way of thinking it's pretty relate-able and listenable. It uses eastern instruments and sounds like the things Timbo and Missy used to do three or four albums back but warmed over. Remember them days? Good times.

How Does it Feel? - Come to find out she was right about dude and this song is about tellin him she can leave. It's also a hit, but kind of repetitive. Production is nothing new but its executed well, steady drums, triumphant horns, Polow tha Don, etc.

Alienated - Awesome song. It has a delicate strange, futuristic, quality which is spot on for a song about feeling alone and alienated. Feels like cruising through bizzare, lifeless landscapes in a spaceship. So when you hear 'You're the reason I don't change my number/ want you to know it's still the same.." you feel the longing. There's pleading, reaching, feeling. This is one of the best on the album.

Tell Him The Truth - Slow somber song about having to confess a secret but not wanting to. The beat is simple, synth guitar over slow rhythmic drum beats and clicks with a repetitious hook. But, she recognizes the negative space is an opportunity to stretch the vocal chords and she does.

Change Me - That song that sounds like that other song and it has Akon on it like every other song on the radio. It's not bad but it's just not interesting and listening to Akon doing his best Seal impression and sounding like Wyclef is just not something I would prefer to subject myself to.

Energy - Another dope song. You've heard the single. And seen the sexy ass video (I gotta get cut like that one day).

Where Did He Go? - Warm synths and vocal layering that makes a pretty song about getting over a break up.

Keri does a damn good job with this album. It's not good enough to warrant her making diss tracks about anybody really but I suppose she eventually remembered that and corrected herself. I don't see her becoming a close to my heart favorite of mine like the Wino but this is a solid album with, as expected, excellent production. Even the throwaways could be singles for more popular artists and we'd have to listen to them at the club and on the way too and from everywhere on earth unless we turn off the car radio. Anyways, you should go check it out.