Album review: Keyshia Cole, A Different Me

Keyshia Cole

A Different Me (released December 16, 2008)

I’ll go ahead and say this now – I’m not a fan of Keyshia Cole’s oddly popular reality show “The Way It Is.” I watched the first season a few years back – apparently, before the ghettoness got out of hand – and it was pretty boring. But Keith Sweat was featured on one of those early episodes so it was all good.

No, I’m more of a fan of Keyshia’s music than her crazy family. Her first two albums, 2005’s The Way It Is and last year’s Just Like You, were extremely strong, minus the occasional vocal histrionics. I’m sure you remember that LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUV song. Ugh.

Anyway, A Different Me promises to reveal a new, sexier side of Keyshia. I don’t know, it sounds like the same ol’ Keyshia to me.

Keyshia’s at her best when she tackles the slower or mid-tempo tracks. You heard it here first – “Thought You Should Know” will be the ladies’ club anthem of ’09. Not because it’s a club banger – its laid-back vibe is more suited for an evening at the crib than shaking it on the floor. The track warns a guy that it’ll take more than a few drinks for him to score with KC. The track is boosted by the fact that Keyshia doesn’t go all insane with her trademark screaming. By using subtlety she speaks volumes.

Same goes for the Nas-assisted “Oh-Oh, Yeah-Yea,” “Brand New” and “Trust,” a duet with Monica. Keyshia glides across each track, careful not to overshadow the mellow vibe.

Unfortunately, none of those tracks have the lasting impact on the listener as her songs from previous albums. Say what you want about the annoying “Love” song from The Way It Is, but it certainly wasn’t forgettable.

KC’s single, “Playa Cards Right” just sounds like pretty much every Keyshia Cole song you’ve ever heard, complete with the ghost of 2pac rapping about the same tired stuff (his en-e-MIES). And nearly all the uptempo tracks – which take up the first third of the album – sound like retreads, especially “No Other”, which sound EXACTLY like last year’s “Shoulda Let You Go,” down to Keyshia’s female rapper friend and that annoying violin-scratchy noise.

While it’s not a bad album, once the CD stops spinning it’s instantly forgettable. It took me over a week to write this review because I had to keep relistening to tracks.

KC’s clearly still got the goods, but next time I hope she focuses more on her music and less on family drama.

Best tracks: “Thought You Should Know,” “Oh-Oh, Yeah-Yea,” “Brand New”

3.5 stars out of 5


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