Kelly Rowland gets real about sex, relationships, and Beyoncé on her most vulnerable album yet, Talk a Good Game. On the follow-up to 2011’s Here I Am, the Destiny’s Child diva calls on Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, The-Dream, and her fellow DC members, with production from Pharrell, Rico Love, Mike WiLL Made It, and more.
She works hard for the money on the gritty “Street Life,” reunites with Beyoncé and Michelle on the break-up song “You Changed,” and airs out her confessions on The-Dream-penned “Dirty Laundry.”
Did the critics reward her for her openness? Find out below.
Entertainment Weekly: Rowland serves up a smorgasbord on her triumphant and sometimes profane fourth studio album. B+
USA Today: Two songs—the Joni Mitchell-sampling “Gone” and the gritty “Street Life”—take her out of her comfort zone. Neither song is a home run, but at least she’s shrugging off the shadow. 2.5/4
Chicago Tribune: An album that will please both those who have grown up alongside Rowland and those young enough to think of her as part of the canon, Talk a Good Game isn’t always the safest move. As a result, it’s the right one. 3/4
The Boston Globe: As for putting herself out there, it is brave (and dramatic) stuff. But [“Dirty Laundry”] itself, a forgettable slow groove, makes the tune more compelling as confession than music.
New York Daily News: The album has a focused sound, based on the slow grind. As on many of Rowland’s most effective songs of the past, her latest keep the center of gravity low. The songs let her slippery voice slide over loping, bass-driven beats. 3/5
SPIN: A sliver above 2011’s hit Here I Am, this one shows that even when she’s going through hell, Rowland steps out with sure footing, a girl-next-door who belongs on top. 8/10
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Freak,” “Gone,” “Dirty Laundry,” “Street Life”