Album Review: Keyshia Cole – ‘Woman to Woman’

Two years ago, Keyshia Cole released her fourth studio album, Calling All Hearts. Although it was a great album, it wasn’t a commercial success. In fact, it is Cole’s lowest-selling album to date. Some people believe that the album didn’t do so well because the music didn’t resonate with her fans.  “I was pregnant,” Cole said in a recent interview. “I was going through a lot with my family at the time. Some of the songs were about them. It was an extremely emotional time and it reflected on the album. When you’re pregnant, you’re 10 times more emotional about everything. There was just a lot going on back then.

Today, Cole released her fifth studio album, Woman to Woman. “It’s for women who have been through similar situations and can relate to me,” Cole explained in a recent interview, hoping to regain the support from her fans.

Woman to Woman includes guest features from Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Ashanti, Robin Thicke, and R&B newcomer Elijah Blake.

The album begins with lead single, “Enough of No Love,” featuring Lil Wayne. On the Harmony Samuels production, Cole sings about being fed up with a broken relationship. “I can’t stay here because I’ve had enough of no love,” Cole sings. The catchy chorus will have you singing along before you know it.

Following “Enough of No Love” is “Zero,” which features Maybach Music Group artist Meek Mill. On the mid-tempo track, Cole expresses her frustration with her man who continues to lie to her. As a result, she leaves him with nothing. “You see it pays to tell the truth, feel so sorry for you/ You could’ve had it all, too bad you gotta fall.”

On “Missing Me,” Cole reflects on a past relationship and is angry that things couldn’t work out. “Who do you think you are to say you’re the best that I ever had,” Cole sings. “I bet you missing me now that my love ain’t around.”

On “Trust and Believe,” the second single from the album, Cole confronts her unfaithful lover who has been creeping with her best friend. After learning about that, Cole wants nothing to do with him. “Trust and believe me, you’re going to need me/I’m so over you, go get lost.” This song is certainly an anthem for any woman who is dealing with a man who has cheated on her.

Following “Trust and Believe,” is “Get it Right.” On the new jack swing track, Cole believes her man is cheating on her. He has been wearing new cologne, didn’t recognize her in his favorite dress, and his sex game became very lackluster.

Cole recruits Ashanti for the title track of the album, which was co-written by Ashanti. The song finds Cole having a “woman to woman” conversation with a woman (Ashanti) who has been involved with her man. It is probably one of the best songs on the album and has the potential of becoming a single in the future

Just when you think the album is about heartbreak and pain, Cole takes things to a lighter note with sensual songs like “Wonderland” featuring Elijah Blake and 90’s-influenced track “Hey Sexy.”

“I Choose You” is another standout track off the album. Cole confesses that even though she is with a man who treats her right, she still has feeling for her ex. She tries getting over him and hating him but it doesn’t work. “I tried hating you, but I just love you more/ Compared him to you, but he can’t match your score,” Cole sings. Her vocals on this song are similar to her vocals on “Love.”

On the up-tempo track “Stubborn,” Cole self-reflects on how her stubborn ways has caused problems, when it comes to love. The song was produced by Rodney Jerkins and includes pop-elements, especially towards the end of the song.

“Next Move” features background vocals from singer Robin Thicke. It’s a nice song but Thicke could have sung more.

Cole ends the album on a positive note with “Signature,” a heartfelt song about Cole finally finding love. One could assume that this song is dedicated to her husband Daniel Gibson.

Woman to Woman is a masterpiece and is certainly one of the best R&B albums released this year. Although Cole went back to her roots with this album, she also showed growth in her vocal performance and overall delivery. There weren’t any ratchet lyrics like there were on her first album. Cole really gave her fans what they wanted on this project and that’s something to respect.

Standout tracks: “Enough of No Love,” “Zero,” Trust and Believe,” “Woman to Woman” “I Choose You,” and  “Hey Sexy.”

 Buy Woman to Woman (Deluxe Edition) on iTunes 

 Buy Woman to Woman (Standard Edition) on iTunes 

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Keyshia Cole Plans to Repackage ’11:11 Reset’ With Three New Songs

Keyshia Cole has been hush mouth since the release of her 11:11 Reset album last October. Her silence has its good reasons though, according to a recent Instagram post.

The “Better Me” singer has plans to revive her latest album and its era. “I will be announcing a tour soon,” she wrote. She will also rerelease her album with three new songs.

The 11-track project, which released on Oct. 20, 2017, highlights Cole’s personal triumphs and trials post-divorce. The album includes the Remy Ma and French Montana assisted single “You” and soulful ballad “Incapable.”

There is no word on when Cole will re-release the album.

Are you interested in new music from Keysh? Let us know in the comment section. 

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Justine Skye, Let’s Talk ‘Ultraviolet’: A Career Conversation

I’ve been following Justine Skye for a while. Not as far back as her Tumblr days, but around the time her Tyga-assisted cut “Collide” began to pick up some steam.

Over the past three years since, Skye has produced a couple of solid records, had some impressive sponsorships and endorsements, and even landed a record deal with Roc Nation. Minor successes aside, there’s been a common note when I’ve mentioned her name in conversation: “She’s not memorable.” And that criticism is more than valid. As someone who has kept up with her work, I even have trouble remembering most of the tracks from her three EPs (although, admittedly, I’d rather not remember her 8 Ounces EP.) Skye’s musical issues ultimately boil down to two things: artistry and execution.

We all know that every successful recording artist isn’t original, or even necessarily talented. However, those type of artists know their market, work within the limits of their artistry, and execute accordingly. The reason why it’s been hard for this Brooklyn beauty to pop is because we, as consumers, don’t know what sport she’s playing nor the arena she’s playing in.

On the artistic side of things, Skye has always struggled to nail her “sound.” Her singing voice is quite generic — which isn’t a dig, nor a hindrance necessarily — but her lyrics are also somewhat lackluster, as well as her ad-libs. Nothing truly stands out, and because Skye’s artistry hasn’t developed, her music sways with the trends of the and sounds of the time. I expressed these concerns in a series of tweets back in 2016 — which ultimately got me blocked on my old Twitter account by Ms. Skye, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Justine Skye Tweet 3Let’s talk execution. Skye released “U Don’t Know” featuring Nigerian singer WizKid in September 2016, with the accompanying video released the following month. Then, a little over a month after the video release, she releases her 8 Ounces EP without “U Don’t Know.” Yet, in 2018, she included the mid-tempo track on her album, and this time without the WizKid feature.

Poor execution.

Sometimes the first single doesn’t work, so that’s okay. She tried again in July with “Back for More” featuring Jeremih. Despite the seven month stretch between singles, the song was an appropriate, summer jam. Unfortunately, even with the feature, the song didn’t get past a few adds at urban radio. The video was released in early August, and then it was silence again from Team Skye.

Poor execution.

Skye then releases third single “Don’t Think About It” on December 1. A week later, she announced the release of her debut album with another single — the PARTYNEXTDOOR-penned “Goodlove” and the video for “Don’t Think About It.” By the time the album dropped, she released another single (“Heaven”), which totaled a five tracks from a 10-track album.

Even with all of these musical misfires, I decided to give the album a listen. After listening to the 33-minute project, I was left generally underwhelmed. Although short albums aren’t common, they can definitely work with a strong thematic direction (see: Lalah Hathaway’s honestly. and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.)

Ultraviolet suffers from a combination of issues, but ultimately the music just fails to hit. I must say, though, that “Goodlove” and “You Got Me” have been on repeat, and guess who penned both of these tracks? PARTYNEXTDOOR. On a 10-track album, if the two standouts are written by the same person, I think that’s worth noting. Hit-Boy’s production on “Lil’ Boy” was also a bright spot for me on this otherwise mid-tempo album.

I don’t have anything against Justine Skye or her music, even. She’s given us jams like “Never Leave,” “I’m Yours” and “Messin’ w/You.” However, if she wants a serious shot at chart success, she’s going to need to find her artistic voice and learn how to properly execute when it comes to the visuals, singles, and the art of timing.

Ultraviolet has left me with more questions than answers, but the biggest question of all is still, “Who is Justine Skye?”

Follow Nathan on Twitter @TheGreatIsNate.

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From 2008: R&B Albums That Turn 10 This Year

Another ten years has caught up with us in the realm of R&B music.

Let’s jog your memory for a minute. For starters, 2008 saw Mariah Carey touch the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the 18th time with “Touch My Body.” Usher showed his strength by “Moving Mountains,” while Beyoncé led ladies to the club, singing, “If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.”

We heard the debut projects from Day26, Jennifer Hudson, Tiffany Evans and Jazmine Sullivan. Also, 2008 ended listeners music drought from veterans Deborah Cox, Ashanti, Keith Sweat and Brandy.

Rated R&B has compiled a list of 31 R&B/soul albums that celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018.

Randomness: On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama won presidency, becoming the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States.

Raheem DeVaughn — Love Behind the Melody
Release Date: January 15
Record Label: Jive Records
Singles: “Woman,” “Customer” and “Text Messages”

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