Kelly Rowland is kind of like how former NBA player Scottie Pippen was during his days with the Chicago Bulls. Kelly and Scottie both have/had above-average talent, but used to play second-fiddle to a player more talented than almost anyone else in the game (Beyonce/Michael Jordan). But where Pippen and Rowland differ is consistency: Pippen was overshadowed but still great every night. Kelly, however, shows on her second album, Ms. Kelly, that although she's got game, her efforts don't always match her potential. And that's the album's biggest problem. Some songs are quite good, but the rest are quite forgettable.
The first single - and first song, in fact - on Ms. Kelly
is "Like This," Go-Go-music inspired track that's strong, catchy and fun. Unfortunately, the rest of the album fails to live up to quality of "Like This." The album cements the reasons why Kelly has failed to achieve the same level of stardom as her friend and fellow Destiny's Child alumnus Beyonce Knowles. If there was still lingering doubt as to whether Beyonce or Kelly is the more talented singer, the mediocre Ms. Kelly
will probably put those doubts to rest.
"Work" is an excellent, Destiny's Child-type song that, like the song "Like This," minimizes Kelly's vocal shortcomings behind an attention-catching beat. And "Every Thought is You," is a classy, well-sung mid-tempo track about healthy infatuation. The slow-jam "The Show" starts off nicely with vocals by songwriter-artist Tank, but the seductiveness of the song is derailed once Kelly's passionless vocals kick in.
There are many weak songs, the worst of which is "Ghetto," featuring Snoop Dogg. It's laugh-out-loud ridiculous, particularly with Kelly singing contrived, out-of-character lines like:
"Hit 'cho block, check your spot, if the block is hot, lay up in the spot. Baby, roll your dice, get your cash, I'm a down shorty, you ain't gotta ask."
This album is basically one by someone with the persona of a backup player who's been thrust in a lead role. And although she may feel comfortable in the role, Kelly can't carry the full weight - just like Pippen never could with the Bulls.