Interesting how just recently I was venting over r&b being dormant and forgotten in the industry, and here comes Ms. Keyshia Cole with an album that sounds like a blast from the past. Woman to Woman is deemed the best album the soulful songstress has released since 2008's A Different Me, with 2010's Calling All Hearts short of the artist's full potential.
After being in the biz for over seven years, Cole is ready to show how much she's evolved in her artistry and as a 'woman'. You know what that means, it's time to analyze and find out just how good Keyshia's fifth attempt is. Should I add this one to my collection, or give it a pass?
Lil Wayne does not appeal to me. His raps just makes no sense in my opinion, and I’m at a loss as to why so many artists acquire his presence on their albums. Anyways, with that aside, Enough of no Love shines as the banging opener. Keyshia stings with her emotional tones and addictive hook. A good choice for the first single and a mood setter for the rest of the album. I’m convinced the concept is focused on feeling neglected, unloved, lonely, and finding a new, which is usually the case for Keyshia’s albums.
“I don’t mind rushing through traffic just to get dinner ready in time…” is just a snippet of the real and relatable lyrics of Zero. This is a continuation of the previous; a cheater and an in-appreciative man getting the boot and ending up with absolutely nothing, where love and a good woman is concern. The aggression in her singer is utterly convincing. The mid-tempo grindy and hip hop influenced beat is hypnotic to the ears. Meek Mill’s flow is necessary and very much valid from the guy’s point of view. This track may not have the force like the first, but it still has the potential of being the next promotional single as well. Oh excuse me, it is. Smart move.
Missing Me keeps the bad boyfriend issue going. But I’m sure we’ll get to a climax soon enough, right Keyshia? The old school influenced r&b number has all the right elements to keep it satisfying, it’s just not as strong as the previous tracks. Still, a space filler is far from what it is.
The first time I heard Trust and Believe I knew it would end up being my favorite track on the album. And it is. The song is raw, arousing, well produced, beautiful, heartwarming, soulful, bittersweet, memorable, truthful, and all in all makes you wonder how much is coming from a past experience. It’s the kind of song that we all can attest to, as women in particular. Often times we remain the ride or die chick to have the man we love step out with someone we know, and its usually the best friend. The sensuality in this song is indescribable; it conveys intensity in the lyrics and almost leads you to shed a tear. No wonder it was chosen as the second single because this track alone could carry the album all the way to top of the emotional charts. And I love that movie like music video.
Keyshia takes us back into the uptempo zone for a few minutes with Get it Right. I like the capacity the track has to develop further but it sounds rather reserved coming in after the previous number. Its possible the producers wanted to keep things balanced, with slow pacers and mid-tempos fairly sharing space, but Get it Right seems like its missing energy somehow. Nonetheless, it has its quality points.
There was a time when people were actually checking for Ashanti. And despite her setbacks the determined singer is destined to make a comeback, hopefully. Keyshia invites her friend to drop some notes on the honesty emphasized number, Woman to Woman. The track is flawless; both crooners compliment each others vocals without being over the top, extra with it or dare I say out shine the other, making it an exceptionally produced duet. Woman to Woman reminisces on Trust, a previous collaboration with Monica. Both songs draw on similar musical arrangement and concept, a girl asking her bestie for advice in regards to a guy. What makes this track different is how fresh their tones are. And let’s face it, best friends always discuss men so that topic can’t possibly get stale in songs.
Wonderland is a groovy, tasteful, and seductive number exhuming pure passion. The singer craves for all the love in the world waiting to be offered by her significant other. The words are tentatively written and there’s nothing oversexed. Keyshia delivers a world of class with no room for raunchiness.
The slowest track on the album, I Choose You, borrows soul/r&b rudiments from the past, where the instruments are concerned, but adds its own freshness to the air. Keyshia soars with her ranges and captivates with her fire. The fervent number tells the story about not being able to settle with the new guy because she’s too in love with the one before. Its more like a pleasing confession; something you want to listen and understand further. The soulful ballad expresses the unquestionable natural talent of the artist. A track sounding more like a classic exemplifies timeless music. What more do you need?
Don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed with the emotional tracks because Keyshia’s known to get you bouncing in the club as well. Stubborn is one of the more hip hop influenced songs so far and I can’t help but point out the similarity of the beat to Drake’s Headlines. However, that fact is rather tiny as the badass number creeps into you and pumps up the adrenaline. The singer stings the skin with her breathy and honey like tones; an imaginary steam fills the air as I listen. This one is bound to be a crowd favorite, and with fingers crossed, the fourth promotional single.
The Dream produced Hey Sexy has all the right aspects, including a summer-esque old school vibe, to be added on the album but I’m not wowed by its existence. Still, its a likable number that’ll possibly appeal to hip hop lovers.
Forever redefines sensuality. Its voluptuousness is quite admirable, mixing r&b with hip hop and ending up with a sound sweeter than strawberries (does that make sense?). The love dedication signifies her unfailing affection for the man in her life. Just listen to the words, she clarifies it all.
The romantic keys that opened up Next Move captivated my ears. I was intrigued enough to find myself buried deep within the music and lyrics. There’s a story being told that happens ever so often in reality. Songs like these are substantial because they hide nothing. Keyshia is one artist that likes to bare it all in her music when it comes the truth in relationships. And she does it well in this track, with the assistance of the ever alluring Robin Thicke.
We’re back to the brokenhearted period in Who’s Gonna Hold Me Down? A subtle number asking questions individuals contemplate on regularly when you lose someone once believed to be a love like no other. The singer fears she won’t be able to move on because she gave her all in the previous relationship. The song’s slow paced sound adds to the loneliness and Keyshia’s voice depicts hurt astonishingly well.
The mellow mid-tempo number Why Lie has soothing acoustic guitar strings and delicate snares that almost takes away from the fact that the mood is still centered on betrayal. Had the lyrics written differently, it would’ve complimented the happy feeling I get from the overall music. Not that the song isn’t good, though, it’s great.
The album concludes with the charming Signature. A love filled, vibrant, and rewarding number that strengthens the more it takes off. From the dramatic keys to the mesmeric beat, every single thing is well thought out and overall magnificently produced. The love anthem closes things off on a pleasant note and cleanses the air of all the cheating, loneliness, pain and heartache once heard as the driving force behind the album. After just one listen, you can’t help but feel elated for the singer and her new found love (and peace).
The verdict’s in. I loved it. This is THE Keyshia Cole that blew our minds with songs like Love and Sent From Heaven. She’s as real as it gets; a no nonsense kind of woman that works hard and gives her all. Woman to Woman reigns in maturity, depth, and solidity. And Keyshia’s voice is sounding more passionate than ever. This is a wonderful r&b album making up for the lost time and the wait. Sure there were some conservatives here and there. But overall, I enjoyed it. I was entertained. And I’m thrilled she’s back and doing her thing.