• Record Label: Republic
  • Release Date: Jun 18, 2013
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37

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  1. Jul 13, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Jul 8, 2013
    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.
  2. Jun 28, 2013
    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.
  3. Jun 27, 2013
    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.