Tuesday, March 31, 2009
IN A PERFECT WORLD
Keri Hilson must have called in a lot of favors. How else to explain the phalanx of high-class help on her debut disc, "In a Perfect World . . . "? Hilson, who assisted on Timbaland's 2007 hit, "The Way I Are" and made her name co-writing hits for artists like Britney Spears ("Gimme More"), has an impressive voice and what seems to be a generically sassy disposition. But it's nearly impossible to tell for sure, since "Perfect World" is less a showcase for her talents than a blank canvas rolled out for her scenery-chewing, upstaging guests stars, who include Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo, Timbaland (who also co-produces), Kanye West and Keyshia Cole -- and that's just the first few songs.
Hilson specializes in "spaceship R&B," that blip-and-bloop-heavy amalgam of club, electro, R&B and pop that's already pretty played out, though that's not Hilson's fault: by some reports, the long-delayed "Perfect World" was supposed to have been released in 2007. Most of the time, Hilson seems to be struggling for control of her own tracks: "Knock You Down" begins as a perfectly reasonable love song, but by the time Ne-Yo starts reminiscing about his days as "commander in chief of my pimp ship flying high," the song flies off the rails in a hurry. All may have actually been lost few tracks earlier, when the ubiquitous Lil Wayne hijacked "Turnin' Me On," turning the otherwise thumping, harmless track into a pull-my-finger exercise in potty humor -- literally. He should go away now.
-- Sarah Godfrey
DOWNLOAD THESE: "Get Your Money Up," "Energy"