It was love at first pop when I heard Kelly Rowland’s new single, “Kisses Down Low.” Unlike Ciara, who once again managed to hop on the trendy train and derail that sucker for a hot second, Kelly had an easy, breezy ride with the beat supplied by Mike Will Made It. Speaking of riding, perhaps some people might object to Kelly’s full out embracement of sexually-charged subject matter, but I am in complete cheerleader mode for it. Yes, Kizzy, when it comes to selling crass and cakes, be aggressive, be, be aggressive.
Admittedly, “Commander” was cool for what it was, but with the European Union going the way of F.U.B.U., mama had to bring it back home. R&B is slowly but surely creeping back, so now is the time for Kelly to find herself a nice little niche. With LeToya Luckett providing comic relief on BET, Kelly’s snatched up the resident southern rap hook girl title, too. Like, will she finally release an album that won’t piss me off and put Beyoncé to sleep? Kidding, you know Beyoncé is benevolent so she’ll force herself to enjoy whatever her sister in Destiny releasers. You get it, though.
Between this and reading that she is working with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis I can honestly say I am curious to hear this new Kelly album. I’d say excited, but that would be pushing it. As much I love “Ice” and adore “Kisses Down Low” because it’s a fine tribute to fellatio, I think I need one more dope song to get me to that place. However, this is progress i.e. I’m making baby steps with an energetic bop.
After that grammatical error of a first single “Stole” and so-so releases such as “Like This,” “Ghetto” and “Down For Whatever,” it seems as if Kelly’s finally gotten what works for her. Yes, give me those midtempo sex songs and every now and then serve me lovelorn sprinkles ala tracks like “Bad Habit” or your duet with Avant (“Separated” remix). Throw in works on par with the underrated gem of a Destiny’s Child bonus track, “Game Over.”
As a lover of the janet. album, Madonna at her most whorish peak, and the days when Adina Howard was crooning about loving her while she rocked items from the Hanes Her Way collection, it’s about time R&B had its female Trey Songz.
Now, there are a few things we still need to work on moving forward.
I love the energy in this performance on Leno, but yo, towards the end Kelly sounds like she’s got a can of Wolf’s chili cooking in the back of her throat. She tends to sound better when with Destiny’s Child, but since that hasn’t been a thing for years now, c’mon nah. You’ve got to make sure your voice is in as tip top shape as that body roll. You can do that. You know Beyoncé. On that body roll in question, please, oh please keep on dancing, Kelly — preferably with your harem of homeboys and homothugs. Madam, I have seen you on tour and you can go.
These few notes aside, seriously, go you, Kelly. It took Tity Boi years to arrive by way of a name change and several years and you’re not even close to 40 the way my play uncle is. You can do it! One head anthem at a time!