Keyshia Cole - Woman to Woman (2012)

Keyshia Cole
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For Keyshia Cole (Gibson), there’s a delicate balance that must be maintained: being in love and happy as a wife and mother, yet not forgetting the tortured tales of love gone wrong (and the ‘Mommie Dearest’-esque mayhem) that catapulted her to a larger audience in the first place. After cleaning house personally and professionally, Keyshia professed to going out of her way to create music that spoke to the hearts and souls of the ladies, a quality that her fans will gravitate to when they hear Woman to Woman, a collection of songs that are an equal mix of her present contentment and past turbulence and turmoil (the non-deluxe edition is the one that’s been reviewed).

For Keyshia Cole (Gibson), there’s a delicate balance that must be maintained: being in love and happy as a wife and mother, yet not forgetting the tortured tales of love gone wrong (and the ‘Mommie Dearest’-esque mayhem) that catapulted her to a larger audience in the first place. After cleaning house personally and professionally, Keyshia professed to going out of her way to create music that spoke to the hearts and souls of the ladies, a quality that her fans will gravitate to when they hear Woman to Woman, a collection of songs that are an equal mix of her present contentment and past turbulence and turmoil (the non-deluxe edition is the one that’s been reviewed).

The twelve tracks may feature a who’s-who of producers and performers (Dre & Vidal, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Bink!, to name a few) but Keyshia manages not to get overwhelmed by the menagerie and makes her voice the most distinctive (lyrically and vocally) of all. As co-writer of all songs, Ms. Cole touches on each and every aspect of relationships, whether she’s giddy about a new love (as heard in The Dream-produced, breathless mid-tempo, “Hey Sexy”), stepping to the unaware chick on the side about what she knew about the man and when  (“Woman To Woman,” featuring Ashanti) and even telling her boyfriend that his game is coming up short in the deceptively sugary-sounding “Get It Right”: “You don’t stroke it like you used to, do it like you used to, do it/Ain’t got me moanin’ like you used to, own it like you used to, own it.” Even the latest single, “Enough of No Love,” contains enough fire to eclipse the loopy Lil Wayne cameo (“Love is a b****, and b****es ain’t s***, and I’m ridin’ with a girl named Keyshia, smokin’ on Keyshia [???]…”) as she tells her soon-to-be-ex that she considered a less-than-ladylike exit, but would rather keep it movin’: “I admit that you almost had me, I admit I was almost crazy/had me thinkin’ bout’ callin’ that b**** to let her know where she could come meet me.”

But that doesn’t mean Keyshia is above handing out the pain every once in a while: she toggles between two loves before breaking down why one has heart over the other in “I Choose You” and telling an untruthful man that he’s going to lose it all in the haunting “Zero.” “Next Move,” a number about two people hesitant about moving forward or calling it quits, features a nearly non-discernible Robin Thicke, and “Wonderland” is a tender duet with Elijah Blake that renders her weak in the knees and all but offers a vulnerable Keyshia up on a platter.

Considering that this is her fifth CD in, it seems like Keyshia now knows the perfect formula when it comes to separating her contented Mrs. Gibson side from her angst-ridden struggling artist beginnings when she was fresh out of Oakland and allowing nearly every move to be dictated by the whims of her men.  Woman to Woman isn’t a flawless CD, but it’s among her best and delivers with the same resilience and raw energy that drew Keyshia’s faithful flock in the first place. Highly Recommended.

By Melody Charles

 

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