There’s Something About ‘Kelly’

You can’t talk about Kelly Price without talking about her voice. In case you didn’t know (and how could you not), her voice has never been anything short of amazing. Hell, she could sing War & Peace to me, and I would be enraptured. It’s her voice that carries the simply-titled Kelly through, even when the material doesn’t stand up to its’ sheer power.

It’s fitting, then, that the album starts with “Tired,” a track that allows Kelly to show that voice of hers off in all its’ gospel-ly glory. Here, it soars and swells as she laments on just how tired she is of a man that just won’t do right by her.

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“And You Don’t Stop,” a dance track that sounds tailor-made for an early-’80s skating rink, borrows a recognizable groove from War‘s “Galaxy” as Price commands that you “keep moving” to the beat. Though not my favorite track on the set, she definitely gives good dance floor diva.

Next we get the second single “Not My Daddy.” The title of this had me scared at first (Teairra Mari‘s “No Daddy” has had me side-eying any song with “daddy” in the title since 2005), but then I saw Mint Condition‘s Stokley Williams attached to it and was instantly relieved. Why these two had never duetted before is a mystery, but this song gave me everything I needed. They show up and show out here playing a couple that’s having identity issues when it comes to their roles. Their voices sound like they were made to sing together (I’d totally buy an album of the them getting their Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway on).

Despite the awkward sound of the word “Himaholic,” the song reaches back the classic Kelly sound from her Soul of a Woman and Mirror Mirror days. Over a smoothed-out groove Kelly states her case about being addicted to a toxic love affair.

“I’m Sorry” feels like it should’ve been made an interlude instead of a full out song. Not that it isn’t a great, but it feels much better as a short segue between “Himaholic” and the fantastic “In the Rain.”

“Rain” actually caught me off guard. It’s a full-out pop ballad fit to be the theme from a romantic comedy or featured in that rumored Waiting to Exhale sequel. Her voice here is clear and almost absent of the gospel flourishes that are usually present.

She then switches gears again for a slinky, sexy synth groove on the Purple One-inspired “Speechless.” Here she coos about the man who’s got her “like a TV on mute.” It’s funky and fun without sounding like a direct carbon-copy of the 1980’s Prince sound that so many others do (I’m looking at you The-Dream).

“Feels So Good” and “You Don’t Have to Worry” show Price more in control of her relationships than the previous songs. “Good” is all about being free from the stress and strain and enjoying the freedom of the single life. “Worry” is more along the vein of a potent kiss-off where she lets her man know that he can “take it all, no strings attached” as long as he gets the hell out of her life.

The throwback soul trifecta of “Vexed,” “Lil Sumn-Sumn,” and “Get Right or Get Left” made me wonder if Kelly should, like Amy Winehouse and countless others, try a full album of this type of material. Yes, I understand the trend is a bit overdone, but she sounds so effortless over these three songs and her voice is a natural fit for it.

Kelly finds Miss Price returning in fine form, her voice sounding better than ever. Yes, sometimes the lyrics verge into cringe-worthy territory, but the conviction and talent that Kelly brings to the table make this a very worthwhile addition to your collection.

Kelly Price Kelly [Amazon][iTunes]

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