Keyshia Cole: Just Like You

More like the queens of Soul from days past than today’s more common Pop divas, Keyshia Cole can sing her ass off. While most of today’s female “R&B” artists sell themselves with elaborate acts and top-dollar production, she is one of the few newer artists who lets her voice be the star of the show. Sure, most of those girls can’t sing anyway, but whatever the reasons are, Cole is becoming a rare breed. While her talents are unquestionable, the quality of Just Like You (Geffen) is still debatable. In some cases, the tracks she sings on turn her gift into a curse, like on “Didn’t I Tell You,” where her big vocals fight with the big beat. Still, when she’s given room, she delivers. The Anthony Hamilton assisted “Losing You” is a perfect example; Keyshia does more than just sing well, she sings like she means it. It may seem like she spends too much time on break-ups and pain, but those are the times when she feels the most sincere, so it’s ultimately better than her forcing out lyrics about a sunny day.Just Like You feels a lot like the best R&B albums from Bad Boy in the ‘90s, but interestingly enough, the places where the Bad Boy influence is the most direct are the biggest problems. “Let It Go” isn’t necessarily anything special to begin with and it’s hard not to think of the B.I.G. classic when anyone else samples Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit.” For some reason, the year old “Last Night” is thrown in as well; a great track, yes, but one that we’ve been hearing for months now. If she wanted to make moves with Puff, the slot would’ve been better off with a new Diddy collaboration, or at least the remix.Just Like You may not do much to change the game for artists of Keyshia Cole’s variety, but it is an overall solid album that fans of the artist or genre should easily enjoy. It isn’t a major breakthrough for Cole, but it definitely hints at what she could eventually accomplish and shows why people have been so quick to call her an heiress to Mary J. Blige’s throne. Mary may not be ready to step down any time soon, but with the right group of writers and producers, Keyshia will be first in line to take the slot when she is.