Keri Hilson is only looking for men on her sophomore album No Boys Allowed, recruiting an all-male cast including J. Cole, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Rick Ross, and Nelly. After capturing viewers’ attention with her confidence booster “Pretty Girl Rock” and arresting video for “The Way You Love Me,” Miss Keri is ready to reclaim the spotlight. How did she stack up with the critics the second time around? Find out below.
Entertainment Weekly: 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. B-
The New York Times: Ms. Hilson’s own records aren’t tipping toward bona fide dance music as much as Rihanna’s, and don’t yet have their audience-strafing sweep. But a few songs here are good enough to stop the overthinking comparisons.
USA Today: Given Hilson’s record as a hit-shaping tunesmith for other stars, in fact, it’s ironic how little of her own voice comes through on this set of smart and pleasurable but mostly disposable pop-soul candy. 2.5 out of 4
Los Angeles Times: With executive producers Timbaland and Polow Da Don at the helm, No Boys Allowed often sounds like lipstick on a pig. There’s no song that cruises with the chrome-rattling confidence of “Turnin’ Me On”; instead, nearly every song is cluttered with as much textural filigree as possible to distract from the absence of narcotic radio hooks. 2 out of 4
Newsday: Considering all the support she gets on No Boys Allowed, Hilson is practically the female Drake, and she doesn’t fail, either. B+
Boston Herald: Despite Hilson’s positive, strong-woman stance, middling cuts about being in love, loving and losing, and never going back don’t exactly feel fresh. B-
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Buyou,” “Pretty Girl Rock,” “Lose Control (Let Me Down),” “All the Boys”