Dear Kelly Rowland:
All praises to the Most High—Beyoncé—because her supremeness has finally rubbed off on your solo material. Woman, you’ve finally got it right with Talk a Good Game. I don’t know if you were trying to prove a point or something, but if so, I’m with you: Screw “third time’s a charm.” It’s all about the fourth, ya heard me?
You can’t hear me, but I’m clapping like Seabert over this new album. Mind you, I have purchased all of your previous solo albums. Sometimes out of pity, others because the first single had me convinced that you were about to serve the girls and make the Mary Wilsons of the world proudest they’ve ever been. Yeah, that ended up not happening, but this new album...I say this new album right here...this, my Negress, is it.
Talk a Good Game is one of the better contemporary R&B albums to come out in a very long time. Even your Target bonus tracks are killing much of what’s presently floating around. I understand you were making Euros singing those EDM tunes for the gay boys of Spain, but I’m elated that you’ve come back home. These songs remind me of the Kelly Rowland who killed the collaborations with Nelly and Avant.
And honestly, I find it perfect timing: Austerity kicked that whole continent’s backside anyway.
I so agree with Pharrell when he says about you: “There are many different facets to her skill, tone and voice, so why her whole album is different, but my three humble contributions to that great album were completely different experiences. She’s going to be a force for a lot of women with her approach.”
You’ve been ahead of the curve more times than not (that diet R&B stuff on your first album, EDM, etc.), but for some reason or another you weren’t the greatest beneficiary. Well, we’re not about to let that happen this time. You are leading the charge on R&B’s comeback and we’re going to make sure you don’t let someone else tip toe past you.
In other words, I’m not letting you Ciara yourself.
I have a few friendly suggestions. Know that they come from a place of love, concern, and are from a person who has receipts to back up his support of you.
1. Promote the hell out of this album. Yes, I know booking a role on The X Factor is a nice boost to your bank account, and hopefully, the show does better than last season. As in people are actually watching it. Nonetheless, at the same time you ought to be calling every radio station on Earth and whisper sweet nothings about Talk A Good Game. Same for the bloggers --- even some of the ones who to this day probably can’t finish a Dr. Seuss book without getting a headache. Talk to everyone. And when you go out there, don't spend 50% of the time gushing about Bey! She's good, she doesn't need the endorsement. This is your moment in the sun, focus on YOU.
And go on late night talk shows and dip it low, pick it up slow, roll it all around, poke it out, and make your back go. Don’t worry: Christina Milian isn’t out there doing it. You might as well. Really, work this album. It deserves to be a hit.
2. Work in more choreography into your act. Listen, I’m going to keep saying this until you actually do it. You can dance, ma’am, and it’s about time you give us some serious choreography. The only other one out here really giving that as far as the R&B Black girls go is your sister in Destiny. Well, Brandy’s gotten much, much better, but your groove is a lot more natural. Use it. God doesn’t bless everyone with that kind of jig.
P.S. No, I’m not counting Ciara. I’ve seen the Matrix one, two, and 17 too many times now.
3. Tour. Call Brandy and Fantasia and get this show on the road. You each have released genuinely good, for real, for real R&B records within the last year. Why not go for a “Ladies First” inspired tour?
4. Continue being Destiny’s Freak. Some people claim they don’t believe you, but they haven’t been paying attention. Keep on dropping tracks like “Motivation,” “Ice,” Kisses Down Low,” and “Sky Walker.” Adina Howard didn’t just sing “T-Shirt & Panties” to boost Victoria Secret and Hanes sales; she wanted a movement going. Carry that torch, Kizzy.
Good luck now. I’m rooting for you.
Michael Arceneaux is the author of the “The Weekly Read,” where tough love is served with just a touch of shade. Tweet him at @youngsinick.