Point of No Return (released October 7, 2014)
Keyshia Cole has spent the last decade serving as the voice of the brokenhearted. And on that journey, her catalog of hits tends to fall into one of two categories: the outstanding (Keyshia’s debut and sophomore albums, along with 2012’s Woman to Woman) or the underwhelming.
Point of No Return, coincidentally Keyshia’s final album for Interscope Records, sadly limps into the latter.
First, let’s talk about what works. Keyshia’s never been afraid to roam down the road of ratchet, which is why “Rick James” works so well. It’s 99% attitude, with Keyshia threatening to slap around her man after stomping all over his couch. Of course it’s absolutely ridiculous, but it’s a unique sound that burrows into your brain long after the disc stops spinning. It’s the clear standout.
But much of the remainder of the album feels like been there, done that. “Somebody better call the paramedics, because I’m feeling kinda crazy right now,” Keyshia croons on “Heat of Passion.” For a song that should brim with passion – I mean, it has passion in its name! – it’s surprisingly lifeless. The same goes for the first single “Next Time (Won’t Give My Heart Away)” – Keyshia usually excels in the realm of heartbreak; this time she just sounds tired.
She spends “N.L.U.” cussing out a “n***a like you” but again, there’s no fire. Guest 2 Chainz does nothing but talk about eating lobster and cereal so he’s no help. Now that Rick Rawse is dieting, I guess Chainz is stepping up his dinner metaphors. And speaking of guests, Future Vandross remains undefeated in ruining perfectly good songs on the duet “Love Letter.” His contribution is just screaming “F EVERYTHANG ELSE” over and over. At least scream ON BEAT next time, homie.
The album does regain a little momentum during its second half. DJ Mustard’s spaced-out “She,” where Keyshia oddly tries to seduce a woman, and the libido-laced midtempo burner “Believer” stand out amongst the clutter.
“Remember (Part 2)” is probably the most telling track on the entire album. Serving as sequel to one of Keyshia’s signature songs, it’s a continuation of the original’s theme of heartbreak – but even with a choir backing her, Keyshia doesn’t convey the original’s passion. We know she can do better – we’ve heard it before.
That’s the trouble with Point of No Return. It’s fine as-is, but we know she can do much better. We’ve heard it before.
Best tracks: “Rick James,” “Believer,” “She”
3 stars out of 5