Album Review

Kelly Rowland, 'Here I Am'

July 25, 2011

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There’s no ambiguity in the intentions of Kelly Rowland’s third album: She’s out to carve her own place as a dance-pop diva. The former Destiny’s Child member takes inspiration from her smash with David Guetta, “When Love Takes Over,’’ and with the help of her high-profile producers, she heads to the dance floor on most of these tracks. The songs overflow with self-affirmation and confidence. “I’m Dat Chick’’ is all swagger over electro beats, and the turbo-charged “Commander,’’ produced by Guetta, leaves no doubt who’s in charge. Rowland makes up for her limited range with expressiveness throughout. Lil Wayne adds a clever cameo on “Motivation,’’ and the sensual “All of the Night’’ features Rico Love. Since Rowland is trying to define her singularity here, it probably would have been wiser to move away from a rote ballad like “Keep It Between Us’’ and some diagramed arrangements that feature hot MCs like Big Sean or Lil Playy putting punctuations on lyrics. They sound like new iterations of the formula set out for many other female pop and R&B artists. The sentiment behind the pounding groove of “Down for Whatever’’ should have been taken more seriously. (Out tomorrow) KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Motivation’’