|Keri Hilson 'No Boys Allowed' Review|
|02-01-2011 11:33 | 0 comment(s)|
| Keri Hilson returns with a sophomore effort a little too full of missteps. From its seemingly direct aim at becoming a make-up ad jingle to the conceited lyrics, there are plenty of reasons to despise "Pretty Girl Rock", but the twinkling girl-power jam is too charming and catchy to stay mad as Hilson exudes confidence, "Pretty as a picture / Sweet as a Swisher / Mad cuz I'm cuter than the girl that's with ya", over a twinkling piano and strutting midtempo beat. The album closes with a bonus version of the song with a clever material-loving rap from Kanye in the middle of the track, "I'm so flava baby, I should have a clock on". If the rest of the effort had half the sassy spirit of the self-confident tune, songs like the jittery "Lose Control" would not fall so flat.
Burping horns and a thin beat drive "Buyou", Hilson's attempt to update TLC's "No Scrubs". The tell-off to lay about men looking to live off successful women has all the makings of a hit, but the distinct lack of bass leaves the song feeling like a skeleton. Hilson moves to a gritted-teeth half-rapped, half-sung approach for "The Way You Love Me". The nearly shouted vocals sap some of the charm from her vocals, but fit the squealing synth and banging beat well. Lighthearted island love song, "Bahm Bahm (Do It Once Again)" marks a return to her solid singing voice with a faux Caribbean accent over a hollow reggae beat and deep bass thump. Fuzzy synth on loan from Justin Timberlake's "My Love" drives slick midtempo ballad "One Night Stand" with Chris Brown. For as rich and gooey as their vocals sound together, the song lacks chemistry.
Clunky production destroys "Toy Soldier", where a tattered marching beat awkwardly steps all over what is otherwise a midtempo ballad, and fed-up "Breaking Point", which clumsily attempts to mesh classic Motown vocals with an electro-tinged voice-box guitar and drippy organ. Hilson's finds her way again briefly on "Beautiful Mistake", where her vocals have enough of a spark to save it from the synth fuelled blippy eighties vibe, as she regrets letting a relationship get romantic. Twinkling piano and a clean beat give Hilson's sweetly cooing vocals room to shine on "All The Boys", as she comes to the realization that she has not known love until now. Neon buzzing synth and horns make "Gimmie What I Want" a rare danceable hit on an album heavy on filler and light on personality