It’s a good thing Keyshia Cole’s got a hit BET reality show to spark interest in her new ‘Woman to Woman,’ because the release might have a hard time generating hype on its own. ‘Keyshia & Daniel: Family First’ — featuring Cole and her husband, Daniel Gibson — debuted to a big audience in October, which will help raise the contemporary R&B singer’s profile.
Cole’s a good vocalist, powerful without being overwrought, but she doesn’t have anything to say on ‘Woman to Woman’ that hasn’t already been said so many times in so many better ways.
‘Woman to Woman’ clicks along in a generic groove (most of the arrangements are as familiar as the lyrics) while Cole works through quite a bit of relationship angst (i.e. paranoia and heartbreak), with just enough bliss to circumvent utter despondency.
‘I can’t stay here if there’s no love’ she warns on pounding opener ‘Enough of No Love,’ to which guest vocalist Lil Wayne makes an apt reply, ‘You just clumsy, always trippin’ over nothin’.’
But she’s good at trippin’. On ‘Zero,’ she makes her pain (articulated with cliches) feel real by way of tension in her voice, and on highlight track ‘I Choose You,’ she’s demoralized, a jilted lover eating her heart out with classic, and effective, wails. Meanwhile, the bumping title track finds her sharing information with Ashanti: ‘Can you just keep it real for me?’
Other tracks aren’t so intriguing, and the redundancy is magnified in a deluxe version of ‘Woman to Woman’ that adds superfluous songs.
Cole interrogates a potentially cheating lover on ‘Get It Right’ with, ‘Tell me who you’re trying to impress,’ and on ‘Missing Me’ she cuts down an ex with, ‘Who do you think you are to say that you are the best that I ever had?’
Fortunately she has happy times, too, singing on the percolating ‘Wonderland,’ ‘When I look into your eyes, I get lost in a wonderland.’ And the release comes to a rumbling, upbeat end with ‘Signature’ and lines like, ‘Your touch is like a signature/You signed your name on my heart.’
Overall, there’s nothing terrible about the release, and the moods should resonate with Cole’s listeners on some level.
There’s simply no wow factor.
Rating: 3 stars (out of five)
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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