Of all the pop releases in the works this year, Kelly Rowland‘s third album may quite possibly the messiest yet.
Rowland’s third studio album first began to take shape after the smashing global success of “When Love Takes Over,” her 2009 collaboration with David Guetta–a hit that largely cemented Guetta’s dance floor reign over the next two years.
To further capitalize on that winning Euro-pop sound, Rowland returned with an equally infectious follow-up last May: “Commander,” an explosive, almighty club anthem that dominated dance charts all across the world, snagging the #1 spot on the US Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play charts.
Soon thereafter however, the former Destiny’s Child chanteuse began to take a tumble. Her label opted to forgo the winning formula–despite the successes born from Rowland’s new-found dance floor diva status–and instead continue the campaign with two ‘urban’-inspired missteps. It was a move that might have made sense in 2002, but in today’s music market? A severely missed opportunity.
In late June of 2010, Rowland released the Dr. Luke-produced, Ester Dean-penned “Rose Colored Glasses,” a stomping R&B mid-tempo that tapped out at #39 on the US Top 40 Airplay Chart.
The single was followed up by “Grown Woman” in July, the Stargate self-empowerment anthem that literally nobody ended up hearing–stalling at an impressively abysmal #51 on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart.
Two months later, Rowland returned to the dance-pop sound that ushered in her initial success with “Forever And A Day,” a storming, David Guetta/Jonas Jeberg production released in Europe in September. But poor promotion–coupled with the fact that the song just isn’t as strong as her previous Guetta concoctions–led to a mediocre peak at #49 on the UK Singles Chart.
After all this, it seems as though the label have now simply stopped trying altogether.
The project as it now stands is a complete and utter mess, as evidenced by the album’s convoluted Wikipedia page–an impossibly long laundry list of producers and collaborators (Tricky Stewart, Bangladesh, Gucci Mane, Ne-Yo, Jermaine Dupri, etc.), a half dozen “planned singles,” and release date push-backs galore–and not to forget, they’re still wavering on the album title.
Although the album is now apparently slated to be released on April 11 in the UK (only two months away), the release seems highly unlikely.
To her credit, Rowland recently updated her website last week to address the silence surrounding the record:
I just wanna first start off by telling you all thank you SO much for being incredibly patient in waiting for the album. The making of this album has been an emotional roller coaster but empowering for me, which you will hear once it’s all done. I’m just taking my time to make sure it’s everything I want it to be. Just an FYI, it is shaping up beautifully!
Still, new leaks from the third album’s recording sessions have already begun to surface. Case in point: “Just Whisper,” a brand new track that leaked in full yesterday.
The song, which was written by Claude Kelly and produced by Swedish up-and-coming sensation Fredro (Shontelle, Jessica Mauboy), is a gorgeous mid-tempo that floats along above a calm guitar strum that completely recalls Sixpence None The Richer‘s late ’90’s hit, “Kiss Me.”
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, “Just Whisper” is Rowland’s most romantic moment yet within this album’s campaign. “You’re already more beautiful than anything I’ve heard, so just whisper the words,” Rowland croons. The message is quite sweet, even if it’s nothing altogether new: You don’t need to prove anything–just do you.
It’s now become even more difficult to place exactly what this new album’s going to sound like with this new leak. As a result, there’s only one thing for certain: The label better get their priorities straight, because this woman has way too much to offer to allow this campaign to simply slip away.