It’s been nearly 8 years since Kelly Rowland graced us with Talk a Good Game. Since then, we’ve been anxiously waiting for a full-fledged album from her.
Alas, it seems my favorite chocolateer favors smaller projects over bigger ones. Ultimately, Kelly’s K EP is a delight, even though it could be so much more.
Before we get deeper into the review, let’s take a moment of silence for the absence of “Coffee.”
Got that out of the way? Perfect.
K opens up with “Flowers,” its sparse production and echoing vocals painting a haunting picture of the desperation one feels to appreciate those who are still with us. Even though I enjoyed the themes and ideas behind the track, I wasn’t blown away by any of it. In fact, I was waiting for a sort of climax that never happened.
This would unfortunately become a running theme on K. Most of its 6 tracks feel anticlimactic, as if they begin and simply lose steam.
I’m not expecting dramatic Whitney Houston-level key changes on bridges. That would probably be overkill. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that Kelly could stand to put her foot on the gas a little more.
Immediately following “Flowers” is the empowering “Black Magic.” While I, of course, loved the message behind it, I was still underwhelmed by the hook (or lack thereof). Perhaps this was done intentionally. Maybe Kelly didn’t want to put an obvious chorus any of her songs on K.
I could respect that more with production that wasn’t obviously suited for the more pop side of R&B.
That brings us to “Hitman,” a track that’s all too ready to be played nonstop by the NBA. It was a standout to me simply because of this familiarity.
I’d expect to hear it on a commercial break or in between plays at a live game. I’ll give kudos for the song not pretending to be anything more than that.
For some reason, we didn’t get an actual music video for “Crazy,” which was well…insane. Obviously a standout on the project, a Donna Summers-esque video with choreography would have launched “Crazy” into the stratosphere. Alas.
“Speed of Love” is easily my favorite song on K. It’s a gentle, acoustic number (which I’m always a sucker for) and hits all the right emotional notes. “Speed of Love” feels like a fully-realized song, which is a shame since we don’t encounter it until the end of the EP.
Finally, we bring everything to a close with “Better.” The piano-driven midtempo track adds a nice finishing touch with lyrics focusing on seeking a partner who loves you on equal terms. The lyrics, “Your partner should be a reflection of you,” in particular stood out to me. Yay for expressed expectations!
You can listen to the EP for yourself below:
While I wasn’t impressed with the project as a whole, I appreciated the messages and themes of blackness, self-love, remembering to be grateful, and so much more.
If it were any other artist, I could let many of the things I’ve been critical about slide. However, this is Kelly Rowland. After watching her navigate the music industry for as long as she has, my standards are a little higher than usual.
Plus, I ultimately want to see her continued success, and I hope she continues to release music and a fully-realized follow-up to 2013’s Talk a Good Game.
What did you think about the album? Let me know in the comments!