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Album review: Keri Hilson's 'No Boys Allowed'

Hilson Whether it’s regarding money or sex, Keri Hilson is concerned with boundaries on her second album, hence the girls' clubhouse title, “No Boys Allowed.” Whatever lines she’s ready to draw with lovers or her bank account, one wishes she’d applied the same “suffer no fools” attitude to the production and thematic intent of her follow-up to the promising but flawed 2009 album, “In A Perfect World.”

With executive producers Timbaland and Polow Da Don at the helm, “No Boys Allowed” often sounds like lipstick on a pig. There’s no song that cruises with the chrome-rattling confidence of “Turnin’ Me On”; instead, nearly every song is cluttered with as much textural filigree as possible to distract from the absence of narcotic radio hooks.

But the bigger problem is with Hilson’s assertion that this will be some sort of girl power album reflecting the concerns of herself and her friends. In glimpses it reaches that goal — like in maybe half of the sticky and finessed “Breaking Point” — but it’s undone by the album’s many other contradictory messages.

“No Boys Allowed” features only guest spots from men — Jay-Z’s exciting protégé J. Cole, Rick Ross, Kanye West (not in his best form) and Nelly. That’s a little disappointing but not as woefully capitulating as inviting Chris Brown to duet on a song called “One Night Stand.”

Listening to Brown lay down a seduction track only conjures the feeling of turning around in a dark parking lot and seeing a big stranger coming up fast. Sure, you’ll probably be OK, but in the moment all you can think is “Where are my keys?!” Justified fear — nothing like that to get things going in the bedroom. Is this the aphrodisiac that either had in mind?

— Margaret Wappler

Keri Hilson
“No Boys Allowed”
Interscope/Zone 4/Mosley
Two stars (out of four)

 
Comments () | Archives (9)

what a stupid review

Barf!! Trash compactor-ready, disposable pap...or is it pop?

This album is garbage. It has disposable crap on it. You should definitely NOT waste your money on this piece of crap!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS WAS A GREAT CD WAYYYYYYYYYYY BETTER THEN NICKI MINAJ NO THAT CD WAS STRAIGHT TRASH I DIDNT EVN WASTE MY MONEY BT I BOUGHT KERI AND SHE DIDNT LETS US DOWN AT ALL!! NICKI HUN IT COULDVE BEN BETTER BT NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT YOU

I'm sorry, but was this supposed to be a review?

And the 2 negative comments on here are clearly from ppl who don't even listen to R&B just like this writer.

Keri Hilson is the next Big Star! I saw her perform on Jay Leno a couple of weeks ago, accompanied by Ricky Minor and some of the members of his band; Keri was incredible. I watched it on Hulu so I could go back to the performance and watch it over and over again on different days, it was mesmerizing. With her back - up dancers Keri has a contemporary sound and look in the same way Beyonce does but frankly Keri Hilson reminded me more of a contemporary Tina Turner and the Ikettes. Now that's more like Hip Hop /R&B and judging by the content of her songs Keri is like a female Marvin Gaye. I've listened to the entire album and it's got attitude but don't get on Keri's case about how aggressive she comes off because Ke$ha is just as shocking. (Remember Madonna writhing around on the MTV stage in her underwear singing, "Like A Virgin"? not so shocking now, is it!) Well, I loved Ike & Tina w/ the Ikettes, and now Keri is turning in a hard hitting, mature performance that has everything a Star needs: The songs themselves, great voice, Hot looking, dancing, & a company of dancers that energizes the stage. Now, if Keri would get them to do a cover of "I'm Blue" that would be the cherry on the top of the cake. By the way, I had no idea when I saw her on Leno that she had an album out already, it will be interesting to hear it and to see how she's grown, for my money, she's there! 12242010 John Sharkey

Wow, the writer must be a real punk to find Chris Brown that intimidating. I am a woman and I do not see him that way. He made a mistake, and he's paying for it. Hey L.A. Times writer you need to man up.

What a very useless review. Obviously you did review with an open mind. You are also very apparently not a fan of Keri Hilson. Very biased review.

I like this review. The album sales reflect the reviewers words. Songs are not been as appealing as "Knock You Down".


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