Keri Hilson - In a Perfect World...
Release Date: March 24, 2009
Record Label: Interscope Records/ Mosley Music Group
When the music video (yeah, they still make those) for Timbaland's dance anthem "The Way I Are" premiered, two things were very noticable in the video: the cool soccer moves, which served as an attempt to introduce the youth in America to soccer (the song came out around the time of David Beckham's arrival to the MLS), and the beautiful Keri Hilson, who's, um, vocals graced the screen and gave a sign of something new in the pop music world. Hilson has been credited with writing songs for the likes of Usher, Ciara, and even Britney Spears. It's a shame she didn't keep all that creativity for herself. Her new record, In a Perfect World... fails to strike any kind of chord in the listener, giving Hilson the distinct label of "just another beautiful female pop singer."
In a Perfect World... begins with a bang, as the first four tracks (disregarding the intro) are four of the five tracks that feature other artists on the album. There is a good reason for this, as the tracks that are Hilson and Hilson alone seem like lazy, regurgitated, watered-down versions of any pop song we've heard before. The album is littered with everything seen in pop music today: a heavy emphasis on beats that are meant exclusively for clubs (basically every track), a reliance on autotune for effect, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Akon, the trio to go to when in need of street cred, an oversexed anthem ("Make Love"), themes of "making it rain," a ladies' anthem expecting men to pay for their drinks ("Get Your Money Up," real original titles), and a song to return the favor to the producer who busted Ms. Hilson on the scene (the lazily titled "Return the Favor," featuring Timbaland), and a ton of catchy hooks and choruses, with a little bit of a suggestive side (as seen in "Return the Favor," when Hilson pleads, "I've been a bad girl, punish me"). You know, everything found on Beyonce's I Am... Sasha Fierce or Britney Spears's Circus. But worse.
The album does have a few bright spots. "Turnin Me On" features Lil Wayne in rare form, autotune and all, and Weezy delivers as he always does: with creativity, a little humor, and a lot of "swag." One of the mega-hits of the summer "Knock You Down," featuring Ne-Yo and Kanye West, Hilson shows that she can actually sing through all the production and manipulation her voice undergoes throughout the album. But then again, that could be aided by production as well. I'm not sure if I care either way.
Keri Hilson is yet another cookie-cutter pop princess: her debut album features a myriad of stars who use their credit to give Hilson some of her own, she's easy on the eyes, and her songs are catchy. The beats are laid down well by Polow da Don and Timbaland, and Hilson uses their talents to her advantage, and had a hand in writing each of the 14 tracks. However, there's no reason not to believe that each of these songs were b-sides from the latest Beyonce album. In a perfect world, this album would be as creative as it was expertly produced. Or maybe in a perfect world, this album wouldn't even have been made.