Teen stars often get lost in limbo when transitioning from their teenybopper roots to the more mature side of the industry. Most of this is due to the unwavering public, who refuses to view them as adults with mature minds. Admired actress and preening singer, Keke Palmer, is currently undergoing that awkward transition, and it’s going badly.
Keke stopped by BET’s 106 & Park to promote her eponymous mixtape. Not only was her performance of “Dance Alone” uncomfortable to watch, the newly-blond 19-year-old seemed rather uncomfortable in a shirt tied like Mrs. Parker’s from Friday, exposing her midriff and accentuating her cleavage. It was too much to take in, especially for someone who can recite quotes from Akeelah and the Bee.
Her seven-track offering tells another story. Though housing mature lyrics, it’s not artificially delivered. It never screams: “Hey, I’m grown! Get over it,” or something to that effect. She opens Keke Palmer with “Rather Walk Alone,” an ode to the old saying: “I can do bad all by myself.” Initially, the production is reminiscent of something from Drake’s sappy catalogue; but as it progresses, electro-pop elements are incorporated. It simmers during the dubstep breakdown at the bridge, but Keke impressively handles the gaudy beat. Its baby sister, “Love Me, Love Me Not,” follows.
Sampling Jay-Z’s heavily-sampled “99 Problems” for “If 6 Were 9” was brave, but she impressively wraps her vocals around the hip hop beat. I’m assuming the message she hopes to convey in ‘6 9’ is that she doesn’t care about social norms; the world can be upside-down and inside-out, she could careless because “nothing matters to love.”
“You Got Me,” “Dance Alone” and “Dip 2 Nite” are the catchy, mid-tempo, rhythmic tracks on the collection. The romantically inclined records boast some of the mixtape’s more mature lyrics. Though suggestive, they never tread over the overtly sexual line.
“So let me love you like she never did before I promise I will keep ya (what),” she sings on the latter. “So let me take my time and blow your mind and boy I bet you I can keep ya. Grab your coat and come with me.”
“I Can’t Sleep At Night” is the closing track, and the piano-driven record is the most vulnerable of the seven. Unlike the others, she actually gets into the lyrics. The lingering stench of Nickelodeon escaped my nasal passages, and I was able to appreciate the dramatic tune.
Overall, Keke Palmer was pretty solid. Communicating her capabilities across seven short tracks should prove effective for the starlet. Her musical experience cannot be denied; with the right writers and producers, Keke could easily transcend into a lovely singer.
Genius Report: C+