Review : Keyshia Cole - Calling All Hearts
RollingstoneCole is a multiplatinum star who had a hit reality show and recently became a mother. But the Oakland diva's fourth album is by no means a celebration: Cole is a heroine who thrives off tales of conflict, betrayal and survival. Her voice is as grit-flecked as ever, chewing through blaring beats and going pound-for-pound for ferocity with fellow bruiser Nicki Minaj ("I Ain't Thru"). It's not all fisticuffs — "Sometimes" is a wistful ballad built around acoustic guitar and finger snaps — but Cole is at her best when she's slugging....full text
AllmusicWhether attributed to the downward trend in album sales or its very title -- one that likely made instant skeptics of those who didn't want Keyshia Cole's sound to change -- the merely-gold-selling status of A Different Me must have greatly impacted the makeup of Calling All Hearts. There are no upbeat pop-oriented songs, and stylistic diversions are not part of the program, either. It is something of a refinement of Cole's first two albums, and yet it involves a revolving door of songwriters and producers. While Ron Fair is as present as ever, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Timbaland, Irv Gotti, Chink Santana, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Chuck Harmony represent a mere fraction of the collaborators. Slow and midtempo material dominates, and so do lyrics illustrating turbulent relationships, though "Take Me Away" -- a highlight -- beams. It drags in spots, due in part to an absence of a "Let It Go"-type track to break up all the introspection and pain, but Cole delivers for those who want to hear a moody, emotional outpouring....full text
Nytimes“Last Train to Paris” pulses with the sound of indifference, of above-it-all-ness. Diddy is a spectral presence on this album, the first and, most likely, only release by the cumbersomely named concoction Diddy-Dirty Money, which consists of him paired with two female R&B singers, Dawn Richard and Kalenna Harper. He dives into songs, drops a few lines, shares a feeling or two, then disappears, having left barely a footprint.
Given this album’s famously long incubation period — it has been teased for about two years — it’s notable that Diddy didn’t feel the need to impose himself overly on the final product. Maybe he senses that the moment has passed: this album was delayed long enough that the once lunatic idea of a Diddy-helmed dance record now feels like an anachronism. In that time period R&B went to the nightclub, speeding up its tempos and digitizing its lotharios, from direction-changing veterans like Usher to upstarts like Jason Derulo and Taio Cruz. Even the basic idea of a hip-hop-R&B-dance hybrid feels outmoded now; the Black Eyed Peas beat Diddy to the punch there.
They’ve also outdone him in the commitment department, completely dismantling their old sound in favor of new, robotic skin. Which brings up the final twist: “Last Train to Paris” is not exactly as techno as advertised. Sure, “I Hate That You Love Me,” produced by Rodney Jerkins, is effectively a house record, with Diddy moaning, “Are we living in vain, or are we living in pain?” But producers like Danja, 7 Aurelius and JLack display a fluency with the dance floor that was already evident in their more pop-oriented productions. (The heavy, rumbling low end of Danja’s “Hello Good Morning,” was one of this year’s gale force sounds.)...full text
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