It's been well over a year since singer-songwriter Keri Hilson
's debut album, In A Perfect World ...
, was originally supposed to be released. But the album, which finally dropped March 24, 2009 in the U.S., isn't the kind of debut that's destined to become legendary in the music world. Not because the album's bad, but because it's so ... ordinary. Other the the current single, the electrifying and addictive "Turnin' Me On," In A Perfect World ...
is mainly filled with the type of non-emotive, over-synthesized tunes that don't make a lasting connection. These songs aren't warm Rhythm & Blues they're icy Urban Pop.
An Icy Quality
There are several reasons why Keri Hilson
's debut album was pushed back numerous times, including record label restructuring and budget problems. But another major reason was the failure of it's first couple of singles to catch on with radio stations and video shows as well as with music consumers. Part of those songs' problem - and the album as a whole's - is that Keri's voice, while strong, isn't particularly distinctive or memorable. The album's best song by far is the above-mentioned "Turnin' Me On," a Polow the Don-produced and incredibly sexy womens' anthem about how to properly approach and seduce a lady. This is the one song on the album where her vocals are assertive and confidant and match her extraordinary songwriting talents: "Now wait a minute lil' buster you got one
more time to feel on my booty, better recognize a lady, that ain't the way you do me," she sings.
But unfortunately, most of the material is along the lines of the eye-rollingly cliche-ridden electronic ballad "Change Me," which features Akon and the album's first single, "Energy," which has great lyrics about a person becoming emotionally drained by a relationship, but has vocals that don't come close to conveying the emotion the lyrics suggest. And therein lies the album's big flaw: Keri's songwriting and lyrics deserve a solid four stars, but her weak vocals are worthy of maybe 2.5 stars. And not particularly helping much is the oversynthesized production, which is alright for 'singers' like T-Pain and The-Dream, but it gives Keri's songs an icy quality when what she actually needs is more fire.