In a Perfect World...

Keri Hilson

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In a Perfect World... Review

by Andy Kellman

After lengthy delays and some surprisingly low-performing singles, In a Perfect World... was issued in March 2009 and happened to sync up with Keri Hilson's first solo Top 20 hit, the coquettish trunk rattler "Turnin Me On." Prior to this, Hilson was quite familiar with high chart positions as a songwriter and featured vocalist. She co-wrote Mary J. Blige's "Take Me as I Am" and Omarion's "Ice Box," both of which went Top Five hip-hop/R&B, as well as Ludacris and Blige's "Runaway Love," Timbaland's "The Way I Are" (featuring Hilson on vocals), and Britney Spears' "Gimme More," all of which were Top Five pop hits. Throw in some other prominent features, including Xzibit's "Hey Now (Mean Muggin')," Diddy's "After Love," two additional highlights from Timbaland's Shock Value, and Nas' "Hero," and you have an established track record for a serious singing/songwriting threat -- Siedah Garrett to the tenth power or stiff competition for Ne-Yo and the-Dream. With all but three of the 14 tracks produced by some combination of Timbaland, Polow da Don, and Danja, In a Perfect World... nonetheless reflects the versatility Hilson demonstrated prior to its release. It's a songwriting showcase as much as it is a coming out for a full-blown artist, yet more about what Hilson can do than who Hilson is. If she wasn't so adept with her pen, didn't fill the songs with her beaming personality and casually fluid voice, and didn't have top-level producers providing mostly excellent beats, it would be a mess. Sonically and (especially) lyrically, the album covers most bases when it comes to pop-oriented R&B, all scattered across a set that is heavy on solid club tracks (including the kinetic clap-and-bounce of "Get Your Money Up," a female anthem) and passable-to-steamy ballads (ranging emotionally from seductive to regretful). The slower tracks don't match up to their opposites, or even the bittersweet midtempo cut "Alienated," but they're not enough of a snag to prevent the album from being one of 2009's most replayable R&B releases.

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