Kelly Rowland has had a stable solo career thus far, she’s managed to release two average R&B/Pop albums over the past 8 years and had some moderate single success. She’s never really emerged as a music industry force though, that is until her recently released third album “Here I Am” which should help her get there. The album is a mostly uptempo slice of contemporary R&B with modern, upbeat and catchy tracks dominating the album. Track after track will have listeners out their seats dancing, or in their cars singing along to the addictive hooks, making it easily her best album to date.
Where before, on her debut “Simply Deep” and more R&B heavy follow up “Miss Kelly”, Rowland sounded unsure of what she was supposed to do vocally on her own. The albums were solid enough, but there was a tentativeness with her that ultimately affected the vibe of each album. On “Here I Am” she’s pulled together material that she feels truly confident with and attacks it appropriately. Maybe she can relate to the material a little more, but there’s definitely something about her attitude and presence on this album that makes it truly stand out.
Much of the success of this album has to be attributed to the producers and writers though. Including Jim Jonsin, Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Souldiggaz and Tricky Stewart with writers Rico Love and Ester Dean on board, they provide Kelly with some very up to date tracks with pretty clever and thoughtful lyricism. The concepts here deal with love and the club but in very subtle ways the writers switch things up like on the stand out track “Feelin’ Me Right Now”, she’s singing about picking up herself from the club (“I wanna take her home cause I know I’ll treat her right”). “Turn it Up” has Kelly drowning her sorrows of a being the other woman with alcohol, “Work It Man” has her not settling for any dude that won’t “go hard in the paint” pleasing his woman, even first single “Motivation” is different than the norm with the woman taking the lead in a bedroom escapade.
Overall “Here I Am” is a very pleasing album, with almost no filler and every song offering something. Kelly’s last two albums came off a little dated, and ultimately forgettable, but this album is so fresh and fun it will be hard to not come running back time and time again.