R&B gets a lot of criticism, a lot of which is at the hand of a fan – yours truly. Yes, though I’m skeptical of the future of the genre, it just might be my favorite. Hard call of course, being a musician with too many albums to count… But enough rambling, this post is actually about Keyshia Cole, an R&B singer of which I’m also a fan (and have also criticized). After listening to each of Cole’s albums over the years, here’s one favorite song from each, even the albums that I sat to the side and thought “curse words” after listening. Here goes nothing!
1) “Love” (The Way It Is, 2005)
Signature lyric: “Oh love, never knew what I was missin’ / but I knew once we start kissin’ I found…”
Yes, perhaps “Love” opens itself to mockery due to Cole’s melisma on lyric “I found…,” but this is easily one of the diva’s most heartfelt and most memorable performances of her career. Personally, the melisma amplifies the emotion and intensity. “Love” wasn’t a hard choice because it is so distinguished, but the album from which it hails – The Way It Is – has plenty of gems.
Runner Up: “I Should’ve Cheated”
2) “I Remember” (Just Like You, 2007)
Signature lyric: “I remember when my heart broke / I remember when I gave up loving you / my heart couldn’t take no more of you / I was sad and lonely…”
How do you pick just one song from Just Like You? This is Cole’s best album from start to finish and though she’s released many good albums, none best this one. But this isn’t about albums but rather songs. “I Remember” is Cole at her best because she’s honest, authentic, and chocked full of emotion. It’s easy to believe her. Furthermore – as showcased by love – ballads are Cole’s “thang.”
3) “Trust” ft. Monica (A Different Me, 2008)
Signature lyric: “I know you’ve been a lot of things in your life / got you feeling like this can’t be right, I won’t / hurt you, I’m down for you baby”
An underrated album, A Different Me lacked the hits of The Way It Is and Just Like You but was consistent through and through. While “Playa Cardz Right” and “You Complete Me” are excellent, there’s something special when two of R&B’s best come together for the rare diva duet. The blend of Cole and Monica’s voices is sheer brilliance.
4) “Long Way Down” (Calling All Hearts, 2010)
Signature lyric: “Don’t show me how you kiss, or where the angels live / you know it’s a long way down from there / just to call it quits, cuz that ain’t what love is / you know it’s a long way down from there”
Yeah, we’re back on this album thing again. Calling All Hearts was…different. Regardless, it had its moments, none of which included Nicki Minaj…no shade. Anyways, “Long Way Down” shows off Cole’s masterful pipes the best, though it’s certainly pushed by the feel-good “Take Me Away” or the edgy Timbaland produced “Last Hangover.”
Runner Up: “Take Me Away” and “Last Hangover”
5) “Trust and Believe” (Woman to Woman, 2012)
Signature lyric: “Trust and believe me, you’re gonna need me / trust and believe me, she’ll never be me / and I’m so over you, go get lost / boy I don’t know who do you think that you are?”
Woman to Woman was “heads and tails” above Calling All Hearts. While it wasn’t loaded with hits, there are enough exceptional moments to make choosing one tough. Still, the heart wrenching “Trust and Believe” wins the battle, even if it sounded ever too close to Tamar Braxton’s “Love and War.”
Runner Up: “Enough of No Love” ft. Lil Wayne
6) “Remember (Part 2)” (Point of No Return, 2014)
Signature lyric: “Everything that you told me / everything you said we’d be / don’t you remember, don’t you remember?”
Let’s keep it real. Point of No Return was a letdown. The letdown became even realer for Cole when the album underperformed. Regardless, Cole knocked it out of the park with two songs – “She” and “Remember (Part 2).” “Remember (Part 2)” gets the edge – it reminisces back to “I Remember” and it is a ballad, which Cole excels at.
Runner Up: “She”
So, if you put the entire playlist together – including runner-ups – it looks something like the link below. What will Keyshia Cole’s next album have in store? Will it best Point of No Return? Let’s hope it does…no shade!