Release Date: Dec 21, 2010
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Pop, R&B, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Contemporary R&B
Who the hell calls her album No Boys Allowed and then does a duet with Chris Brown called "One Night Stand"? A diva who is a little confused about what she's doing. Keri Hilson has a powerhouse voice that seemed to promise great things on R&B hits like "Turnin Me On" and "Slow Dance." But her second album is hit-or-miss, with failed attempts at pop crossover (the Timbaland collabo "Breaking Point") and sub-Rihanna reggae moves. Still, the high points are worth digging out, especially the electro-porn of "The Way You Love Me" and the Ne-Yo-co-written "Pretty Girl Rock," a lighter-than-air jump-rope rhyme about how hot she is.
Keri Hilson broke out of the hook-singer pack with her bubbly 2009 hit ”Knock You Down,” but this zigzagging sophomore disc, No Boys Allowed, suggests she?s not quite sure where to go next. Our advice? Sidestep the lukewarm dancehall (”Bahm Bahm [Do It Once Again]”) and raunchy electro (”The Way You Love Me”) and stick to sensual future-soul slow jams such as ”One Night Stand” and the Timbaland-produced ”Breaking Point.” B? Download These:Sleek Beautiful MistakePretty Girl Rock, co-written by Ne-Yo at myspace.com See all of this week’s reviews .
Despite the title, not only was I fully able to listen to No Boys Allowed, but the guests on Keri Hilson's second album are all male: Rick Ross, Nelly, J. Cole, Timbaland, Kanye West and Chris Brown, to whom the music industry seems to be giving a second chance. (Don't fuck it up, Breezy!) With exec producers Timbaland and Polow da Don behind the boards and assists from Danja, StarGate and Boi-1da, forget No Boys Allowed - this thing is practically the Düsseldorf Bratwurst Symposium of 1987.
A popular and strange opinion prior to the late 2010 release of No Boys Allowed was that Keri Hilson's career was on life support. Her 2009 debut album failed to go platinum, but a number one R&B single and a number two R&B single, along with nominations for Soul Train, BET, American Music, and Grammy Awards, did not exactly place her on a fast track to the Shanachie label's covers-album exile. And yet, her follow-up isn't merely eager to stand out but rather desperate, as if the studios in which it was recorded contained a clock counting down to the point of failure, the moment when Hilson would no longer stand a chance of being a ubiquitous, multi-platinum superstar.
Who is Keri Hilson? Well, if her cute dress-me-up music video for “Pretty Girl Rock” is to be believed, she’s the culmination of a tradition that includes Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Diana Ross, Diana Ross again (I think), Janet Jackson, and T-Boz. Oh, and Patricia Andrews with her “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” sisters. Hilson likes to play dress up and she knows her idols, but if the overproduced, under-clothed video for “The Way You Love Me” is to be believed, and I expect it is, she trusts her ability to thrust her hips toward recoiling cameras more than she believes in the power of her vocal track.
While R&B listeners knew who Keri Hilson was before 2009, she became a fully fledged star after her 2009 debut, In A Perfect World. While stardom surprises many artists, Keri acts like she’s been in the limelight for decades. Hilson’s sophomore album showcases this attitude as she toes the line between arrogance and confidence. With executive producers Timbaland and Polow Da Don backing the songstress on No Boys Allowed, the album has the potential for greatness: hit producers alongside a premier songwriter, yet as it all too often happens, the final project doesn’t work out that way.
In her previous guise as a jobbing songwriter, Atlanta's Keri Hilson came up with major hits for the likes of Britney Spears and Mary J Blige, yet the ones she's saved for herself on her second album are, with the exception of the frantic electronic firework The Way You Love Me, too featureless to make an impression. Odder still, she's written only five of the 12 tracks, having ceded most of the songwriting responsibility to a crowd of men, including old pal Timbaland. But the real eyebrow-raiser is that an album ostensibly dedicated to the idea of female empowerment is so full of conventional sex-and-love piffle (including, of all things, a salacious slow jam with Rihanna's notorious ex, Chris Brown) and tributes to her own gorgeousness.
Warm and confident throughout her second album, Hilson is becoming hard to ignore. Matthew Horton 2010 Until now, Keri Hilson has had an unwelcome knack of fading into the background, even on her own records. Her biggest hit, 2009’s Knock You Down, saw her overshadowed by a compelling turn from Ne-Yo and typical showboating from Kanye West, and of course she cut her teeth with low-key guest spots on Timbaland tracks, notably taking second billing to Nicole Scherzinger on Scream.