Written By: Brandon Basile
And The Girl Is Still Golden
Originality: (4.5 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (4.0 / 5) Lyrics: (4.0 / 5) Production: (4.0 / 5) Average: (4.1 / 5)
Keyshia Cole has been in the mainstream Hip-Hop/R&B channels since the success of her debut album The Way It Is in 2005. The album was full of songs about heartache in relationships reminiscent to the rhythm and blues lineage of Mary. J. Blige and contemporaries like Jazmine Sullivan and went on spawned numerous gold and platinum singles such as “I should’ve cheated”, “Love”, “Never”, and “(I just want it) to be over” being certified platinum with 22 weeks. Since The Way It Is, the artist went on to succeed with reality television shows on BET and charted hits throughout the years, but with highs and lows of reception of her music albums across the years she was yet to duplicate the success of her debut LP. On October 20th, 2017 Cole released her 7th studio 11:11 Reset. With singles featuring French Montana, Remy Ma, and Young Thug plus guest appearances by DJ Khaled and Too $hort could where is the queen making moves to nowadays? Is she back to being bitter again?
Keyshia isn’t as anger filled as her younger love-spurned self from her earliest days, but she has grown as an artist and songwriter. 11:11 Reset sports polished production with modern and traditional R&B elements. Let her vocals tell it she’s singing at her best and still getting better. But Keyshia’s singing has never been in question honestly. Yeah, you may have something to say about her slide in the opening of the chorus of “Love” from back in the day, but if the whole platinum song can be from a recording of an out of tune guitar then surely liberties can be taken with vocal stylings. 11:11 sounds good and has good production. The commercial songs, the ones with the mainstream features, probably will make success on radio waves, but the shining moments of the album come with the songs that were majorly produced by Cole using more live instrumentation. Now, don’t quote me on the woman’s musical ability because I have never seen her with any instrument in her hand, but “Right Time” has soulful songwriting and stellar instrumentation that truly leaves you wishing you had more time with the song but “now it’s too late”. “Emotional” is classic Keyshia as she #SANGS it all out with the strength and passion that we’ve come to love and expect from her since “(I just want it) to be over”.
11:11 Reset is good. It really is, but it could be a lot better. I’ve been a long time Keyshia Cole since the first one and it feels like Keyshia is actually limited by the mainstream side of things. She has a lot of power as a singer and an artist and excels more at songs for the passion than the profit. “Ride” is a good sexually suggestive song and the rap feature is actually tolerable though I would’ve enjoyed Keyshia singing that one by her damn self, but really who needs a cosign from Too $hort at the end of their album. Babygirl you don’t need a cosign from a pimp. You are cooler than him and Khaled, girrrrl! Shooot. We are going to make this wish with you on this album and keep on rocking with you until you get it right. Give us a 70s throwback album and we’ll all dance with you!