Keri Hilson has released her anticipated sophomore effort, No Boys Allowed, just a few days before Christmas. Keri garnered a lot of buzz on her debut, giving the world memorable hits such as “Energy,” “Turning Me On,” “Knock You Down”, “Slow Dance”, and other unreleased cuts from the album. Will No Boys Allowed live up to the momentum created from the debut or will it serve as a mere stocking stuffer?
The album kicks off with “Buyou,” which features Jay-Z’s protégé, J. Cole. There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe my annoyance with this song: “you better buy you a car or I’mma walk right by you.” The Donkey Kong 64 production doesn’t help either. J. Cole also attacks the male slacker Keri bashes throughout the song by questioning her reasoning for being in a relationship with the bum. This song has the same premise as “Get Your Money Up” from Keri’s debut album.
Next comes the schoolgirl anthem “Pretty Girl Rock.” Keri speaks to hating women on this upbeat, inspirational tune. Although it serves its purpose to uplift women, I still think this song is too elementary for her.
She then “pretty girl rocks” into “The Way You Fuck Love Me.” With Polow’s energy-enthused production and the aggressive lyrics, this should have been her first single. The controversial video brought awareness to her sophomore effort; most was negative, but as the saying goes “all publicity is good publicity.”
Keri reaches for her non-existent Caribbean roots for the reggaeton-inspired “Bahm Bahm (Do It Once Again I Want You).” In the Rihanna-esque track, Keri continuously refers to the “man” as a “boy”: further contradicting her album’s concept. She continues this “boy” referencing contradiction in “One Night Stand.” Keri leads the provocative song, by seductively beckoning Chris Brown to stay the night with her. The chemistry is apparent and their voices blend well, but Keri and Chris singing sexually to each is other just… weird.
The innovative Miss Hilson recreates Rihanna and Drake’s “What’s My Name” with Nelly on “Lose Control (Let Me Down).” In Keri’s defense, Stargate is responsible for producing both tracks.
“Toy Soldier” is easily my favorite track on No Boys Allowed. The lyrical content is in coherence with the concept of the album, the production corresponds with the title of the song, and Keri’s vocals complete this gem. Miss Hilson gets over the heartache, and moves on from an unproductive relationship in “Breaking Point.” The Timbaland-produced joint isn’t pleasing to the ears, however the emotion behind Keri’s vocals make it worth the listen. Once.
“Beautiful Mistake” is a bittersweet track where she reminisces on a past relationship. The extravagant production, by Timbaland, and her simplistic vocals do not mesh well. The basic lyrics were possibly found in an 18 year old girl’s diary, “wish we never crossed the line, I wish I never gave you this booty.”
The boy references return in the penultimate, self indulgent “Gimme What I Want.” In short, Keri took the exact concept from “Get Your Money Up,” dropped the features, got new production, and put it on her new album.
Ironically, the most lyrically captivating song comes from John Legend. In “All The Boys,” Keri emphasizes how a “boy” swept her from her feet and introduced her to love. The song is tender, affectionate, and enchanting; unfortunately, it’s too great for this album. It serves as the final track on the standard edition of No Boys Allowed.
Keri has done an ample amount of promotion for her sophomore album. Somewhere along her promotional trail, I fell out of like with her. Last year, I overlooked her desperate attempt to garner attention to In A Perfect World because it was a damn good album. I can’t do the same for No Boys Allowed. I commend her hustle, but make sure your hustle contains quality and you promote with eloquence. It’s obvious her intention is to crossover, and I think she’ll do just that with this album; however it’s still a sleazy piece of rubbish to me. I appreciated her ‘girl next door’ demeanor greater than this sex kitten ‘good girl gone bad’ vibe she’s giving.
The only consistent thing about this album is the straying away from the ingenuous concept: “no boys are allowed in my life. If you plan on pursuing me or expecting anything romantically serious, have your act together like a man.” Most of the album was overproduced… you know what? Generic Pop music and myself don’t get along, and No Boys Allowed is mostly that. To end what’s bound to create a long ass rant, I digress.
Genius Tracks: “Toy Soldier,” and “All Of The Boys.” Ironically, neither of these songs were written by Keri, who is known for her writing prowess.