Saturday 3 December 2016

Music: Keri Hilson - No Boys Allowed **

(Polydor)

Published 14/01/2011 | 05:00

This Atlanta, Georgia native is no overnight sensation. Hilson enjoyed quite a reputation for her behind-the-scenes work, penning album tracks for such disparate figures as Mary J Blige, Britney Spears, Ciara and Pussycat Dolls. She certainly knows her way around a smart R&B song, which is why it's so surprising that she has only written five of the 12 numbers on this, her second album.

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For the rest, she's relied on some big names, including Timbaland -- who just isn't in as much demand as he used to be. (If his contributions here are anything to go by, his creativity is on the wane.) And there are collaborations with the ubiquitous Rick Ross and Kanye West.

Superficially, this is a high-gloss album, full of radio-friendly R&B songs, particularly lead single Breaking Point (whose promo video is worth investigation). But scratch under the surface and its paucity is clear for all to see. There's precious little innovation, and her songs of female empowerment are all too prosaic.

The album reaches its nadir when Hilson duets with Chris Brown on One Night Stand -- strange indeed that an album concerned with girl power would feature Rihanna's notorious ex.

The best moment is provided by the closer, Pretty Girl Rock, which features West's rapping prowess.

Ultimately, though, No Boys Allowed marks a dip in form from her promising 2009 debut, In a Perfect World.

Burn it: Pretty Girl Rock

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