To close out the fall we call on one of urban souls greatest voices.
It all seems like yesterday Keyshia Cole exploded onto the R&B scene armed with a refreshing, attitude and confidence that hadn't been seen in female soul singers since a certain lady named Mary J. Blige lit the streets. So it comes as hard to believe that with 'Calling All Hearts', Keyshia is dropping her fourth album.
Still in a career that has previously seen a trio of great albums, Cole remains consistent and doesn't disappoint with her latest offering. The best young female artist in the game links up with the greatest female MC to open the playlist and single releases on this album. On 'I Ain't Thru' Cole drops some cold lyrics alongside sought after feature artist, Nicki Minaj's always ravishing rhymes. On this track both ladies show they aren't to be messed with. Keyshia kills it with lyrics like "So ain't nobody iller than me/And I ain't being cocky I'm just saying/It's time for me to do me/Time for me to live my life". While Minaj buries it with her lines, "Tell her quack quack, she a m************ duck, goose/She a saturday night live, spoof/One thing the coupe never got, roof!/Yeah I took the spot she gone, poof!".
Keyshia does not play around with the rest of 'Calling All Hearts' collaborations either. On the Timbaland manned 'Last Hangover' Keyshia Cole awakens Timbo's fresh beat, proving that collaborating with the best in the game is no headache. You can drink to that and take in the Faith Evans duet 'If I Fall In Love Again'. The veteran and young talent perfectly compliment each other on a track that rightly sample Faith's late husband The Notorious B.I.G's 'Warning'. Be advised this is one of the best tracks of the album.
As is 'Tired Of Doing Me' where Cole links up with R&B man of the moment Tank. On this duet Tank starts the song off perfectly before Keyshia finishes it off making the song hers. Speaking of Faith Evans this Tank/Cole track is as good as her duet 'Can't Believe' with Carl Thomas. In fact this may just be the greatest male/female R&B duet in years.
Her most touching duet is the personal, poignant collaboration with foster mother, Dr. Yvonne Cole. On the track 'Thank You' Keyshia shows how truly grateful she is with the songs beauty. Cole keeps it on the up and up with the albums second single 'Long Way Down'. She adds another stellar track worthy of standing next to her biggest hits like 'I've Changed My Mind' and 'Last Night'.
Keyshia Cole may as well expect another platinum plaque, as she strikes soul gold with production from Kanye West and Alicia Keys producer Krucial Keys. Still even when singing over beats from the industries best Keyshia's talent stays in front of the production and not shadowed behind the beats. That is the sign of a true artist as are the tracks 'So Impossible' and 'Better Me', where Cole defies any hardship while bettering herself and her status that much more.
The Mrs. Daniel Gibson to be proves she's a real cavalier talent with tracks like 'Sometimes' and 'What You Do To Me'. While on 'Take Me Away' the talent goes even further as Miss Cole shows even more development in her singing and songwriting. Keyshia has always been wise beyond her years but on this album she shows a maturity that may take her from one of the stars to one of the greatest. Keyshia sneaks in one of the best albums this fall right before the last week of 2010 and just in time for Christmas. Until the new year releases march in during the first quarter of 2011, 'Calling All Hearts' is going to make it a real Cole winter. TIM DAVID HARVEY.