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Album Review: Keyshia Cole - "Just Like You"

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Album Review: Keyshia Cole -

Album cover © Geffen Records.

On Keyshia Cole's sophomore album, Just Like You, the Oakland-raised singer shows that the success of her debut album, The Way It Is, wasn't a fluke and she's not just a one-album wonder. And although most of the attention she attracts is due to her voice and looks, it's actually her songwriting that's head and shoulders above everything else on her second album. Part of her songs' appeal is their ability to articulate her thoughts and emotions in an heartfelt way that's articulate but still real enough that it touches people. And on the album, Keyshia proves that even though she's a star, she's still Just Like You.

Rising Up & Being Strong

If you've even been cheated on by a man, had your heart broken by a man, had a man stand you up, or were just plain angry at a man, then Keyshia Cole has a song for you. Whether it's the I'm-so-over-you anthem "Didn't I Tell You," the you-don't-appreciate-me song "Fallin' Out," the I'll-recover-from-this-broken-heart track "Got To Get My Heart Back," or a number of other songs, Keyshia explores the many facets of relationships.

And as you might expect, female empowerment, rising up and being strong under adverse conditions are underlying themes here, and Keyshia definitely has the voice and attitude to carry such songs. On tracks like "Last Night," (which is also on Diddy's Press Play album) and the aforementioned "Didn't I Tell You," which features Too $hort, Keyshia fully displays her incredibly powerful vocal abilities.

Unfortunately, the album's inconsistent in that department: although she sounds great on some songs, on others, her voice sounds plain and ordinary. She especially suffers on the album's slower songs, like the forgettable ballad "Work It Out" and the slow-tempo "Fallin' Out," in which her voice seems like it's been manipulated by studio technology to make it sound pitch-perfect. That's not to say that she's only a 'studio singer,' because there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. But there's also evidence that she's better at singing songs where she has to forcefully project her voice.

So overall, if you're not a Keyshia Cole fan, Just Like You may or may not win you over, but if you're already a fan, this album represents everything you love about her.

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