Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Album Review: Keke Wyatt's 'Who Knew'

It has been a while since we’ve heard from the talented songstress Keke Wyatt. When she first made her debut in 2000 by way of R&B singer Avant’s captivating ode to love “My First Love”, R&B fans alike gravitated towards the woman with the mind-blowing powerful vocals and the signature sound. She eventually released her solo effort Soul Sister that went on to place in the top 5 on the R&B charts.

After a setback in 2002 that found the singer indicted for allegedly stabbing her husband during a domestic dispute, Keke Wyatt’s image turned from soft and star-studded to controversial and unforgettable.

But that was then and this is now, and now Keke is back and better than ever. Noticeably svelte and lean, Keke brings a brand new look to the table with the same familiar sound via her newest project titled Who Knew.

Keke became the center of attention once again earlier this month when her video premiered for her song “Who Knew.” Many were taken by surprise at her secret reentry into music, but knew that the wait was worth it. The lead single beckoned a much needed call that R&B fans have been salivating for, and Who Knew does the job of satisfying the need for the vocal albums R&B is made of. 

Who Knew opens up with the lead single that shares the same name. The track is a pleasurable R&B single that showcases Keke’s impressive vocal range that turned fans on to her earlier in her career. “I’ll Never Do It Again” does the job of setting the tone for the rest of the album. The smooth R&B track, that encompasses modest bass, high hats and cascading drums, narrates on becoming a better woman while learning the lessons from past mistakes.

Most of the tracks that make up the album are reminiscent of 90’s R&B – a time when R&B was more about the vocals and less about the beat. “Without You”, “Daydreaming” and “So Confused” brings that point home, with Keke resting her golden vocals comfortably over the beats of the tracks allowing for each lyric to marinate in the ear without it being too overdone.

“Peace on Earth” has a gospel-tinged sound that speaks to the soul with the assistance of an acoustic guitar, much different from the previous tracks on the album. The single delivers a message about what it takes to heal the world, explaining that it starts with healing ourselves. It kind of reminds the listener of Michael Jackson’s message in “Man in the Mirror”, while “Getting It (Remix) – that plays on a more crunk and R&B style – seems a bit out of place in comparison to the overall tone of the album.

Keke Wyatt’s Who Knew is an excellent reintroduction of the singer and her talents to those who are familiar with her past work. For some that did not get a chance to know or gravitate towards her as an artist in the beginning will get the chance to do so now. It is a solid collection that will be welcomed by fans that are more apt for the vocal performances of an artist; after all, that is what R&B started as.

The fact that Keke silently headed into the studio to churn out new material almost 9 years after her solo debut will definitely work in her favor for she did very little promising and much more proving.

Standout Tracks: “Who Knew”, “So Confused”, “Weakest”, “Peace on Earth.”

Keke Wyatt’s Who Knew is scheduled for release on February 23, 2010 courtesy of Shanachie Entertainment.

Album Rating: 3.9/5

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