Talk a Good Game - Kelly Rowland
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. By teaming up with some of the best producers in the r&b/hip-hop genre right now, including frequent Drake collaborators T-Minus and Boi-1da, Kelly Rowland has managed to make one of the best sounding r&b albums of the year.
  2. 83
    Rowland serves up a smorgasbord of her triumphant and sometimes profane fourth studio album. [21 Jun 2013, p.68]
  3. Jun 19, 2013
    80
    Talk a Good Game is her realness in full flower, an album that balances world-weariness about relationships with infectious dollops of sexual agency, tackling the vagaries of love almost exclusively and offering anthems for experiences that every woman has had (or will have) at some point.
  4. Jun 25, 2013
    76
    Instead of focusing on escape through pleasure, Talk A Good Game concentrates on conversation, and when necessary, confrontation.
  5. Jun 24, 2013
    70
    Considering her career so far, this is super cool, contemporary grown-up R&B that shows just how far Rowland has come.
  6. Jun 19, 2013
    70
    "Dirty Laundry" is brave (and dramatic) stuff. But the track itself, a forgettable slow groove, makes the tune more compelling as confession than music. People should venture further into Talk a Good Game, because a good chunk of the rest of the album--a mix of easy pop, shiny dance tracks, and a dab of retro soul--reflects a better balance of sound and sentiment.
  7. Jun 19, 2013
    70
    The album quickly stabilizes with satisfying, if mostly unexciting, material. Other than the lack of European dance-pop, the main difference between this set and Here I Am is the presence of Rowland's most revealing and powerful song, "Dirty Laundry."
  8. Jul 8, 2013
    60
    Emotionally raw, [Dirty Laundry is] far more intimate than her sexier songs, proving that her best recipe for success is baring her soul rather than her bedroom secrets.
  9. Jun 27, 2013
    60
    Rowland's pendulum has swung away from her Guetta-dance flirtation back to her R&B roots, but this set is still a grab-bag of Janet Jackson homages and bedroom-eyed midtempos on which Rowland's come-hither lyrics remain at odds with her slightly prim delivery.
  10. Jun 19, 2013
    60
    Talk a Good Game's standout tracks prove that she's closer to carving a niche for herself than she has been on prior efforts that suppressed rather than addressed that difficulty.
  11. Jun 28, 2013
    50
    The album, however, is a solid body of work--albeit with some questionable filler song--but it’s hard to pinpoint something which makes the album stand out and gives it the spark it needs to allow Kelly to separate herself from the countless other female R&B artists out there.
  12. 30
    ["Dirty Laundry" is] so raw and visceral that we finely see her as intended: vulnerable, flawed, and totally real. She tries replicating that authenticity, but there’s only the uber-cliché “I don’t care; we’re over” anthem “Gone” and the album’s superficially enjoyable title track, which Rowland approaches with some intriguing level of nuance.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jun 22, 2013
    7
    Talk a Good Game is very solid R&B album. Her vocals are on spot throughout the record probably further improved since Here I Am. That said however as a dance music fan I am disappointed by the lack of danceable R&B numbers on the album, except Skywalker which on the repeat since I purchased the CD. She seems to have abandoned her dance fans which is a shame as her voice fits the beat so well like no other current female singer nowadays. Full Review »
  2. Mar 14, 2014
    7
    Not better than it's predecessor, Here I Am (due to the lack of dance songs), but it narrowly cuts the positive mark............................................ Full Review »
  3. Jul 13, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Already critically acclaimed as her most cohesive body of work, Talk a Good Game stands out in Kelly Rowland’s discography as a record that doesn’t just exist as a shelter for discrete tracks; it was rather created to be a home to some very personal and connected stories, experiences, and emotions. The name of the game is love, and each song defines a rule about how love should and should not feel. Melodies and lyrics unite to re-create different stages of Rowland’s relationships, and her vehement vocals precisely capture the essence of emotions and lessons she does not want to forget.

    Penned by The-Dream, the controversial tell-it-all second single, “Dirty Laundry,” is the most vivid example of the boundaries that have been pushed on this album. Revealing past moments of jealousy towards Beyonce, along with an abusive relationship that caused the tension between the former Destiny’s Child bandmates shortly after the “Survivor” era, the song gets more and more intense as it progresses, showcasing a stirring build-up culminated by the lines “He turned me against my syster I missed ya.” Immediately after “Laundry,” Kelly has chosen to place her collaboration with Beyonce and Michelle, “You Changed.” Many have compared the song to Destiny’s Child’s song, “Girl,” and the song indeed is a sequel to the Destiny Fulfilled single. Defined by beautiful harmonies and cathartic lyrics, the song closes the chapter that both “Girl” and “Dirty Laundry” had started. And make no mistake, the song is truly a Kelly Rowland track that features Mrs. Carter and Ms. Williams.

    The Wiz Khalifa-assisted “Gone,” puts a more playful and sassy spin on the break-up situation. A snapping beat produced by Harmony Samuels and the catchy sample of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” (also on Janet Jackson’s “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”) make this song the most logical choice for next single. Another stand-out track on Talk a Good Game is the title track, produced by T-Minus. Delivering her exhortative lines, Rowland sets the most fundamental rule of the game, “why do things the hard way when you can just be honest?”

    Don’t think that Rowland has neglected her naughty side; sexuality is part of the palette on this album as well. The album opener, “Freak,” along with the first single, “Kisses Down Low,” and the collaboration with The-Dream, “Sky Walker,” all touch on the subject of exploring your sexuality to the fullest and sharing your dirtiest desires with your partner. “Walker” even gets as far and provocative as suggesting that a man might “need a main girl that you like a side chick.”

    The second half of the record is dedicated to love’s positive outcomes and true romance. An anthem for ultimate surrender, the Samuels-produced “Put Your Name On It,” showcases the most powerful vocal performance on the album. “Stand In Front of Me,” a 50′s doo-wop inspired ode to romance and chivalry, will surely bring out some sort of visual of a dancing couple in your mind; perfect for a wedding song.

    There is one last stand-out track that is sort of off-topic, addressing the social issues around the street culture and strives for self-improvement the gravelly Pharrell-penned “Street Life.” It could be the horns combined with the accelerating drums, but parts of that song remind me of Beyonce’s “Countdown.”

    Overall, Kelly Rowland delivered her least-commercial, but most solid record to date. Will there be a huge hit coming out of this album? Probably not. But chances are that it will be remembered more than her previous releases.
    Full Review »