Music Recommendation – Single – Kiki Rowe, “Demolition”

kikirowe2Only a couple of months after her self-titled debut album released (and was reviewed by AMP here), the rising RnB singer is back with another distorted-voiced love song. Solid production finds an excellent balance behind the entrancing voice of Rowe. Demolition starts out the path to a sophomore album right and offers listeners an insight into Kiki Rowe’s sound before, what I believe is on the horizon, her big break.

Kiki Rowe has already worked with important names in the music industry, including the hit-maker DJ Mustard on Trust Issues. I have always used The Weeknd comparisons to Kiki Rowe, but Demolition is a bit more unique this time around. Her voice and production give her the perfect sense of originality while striking a slight resemblance to give first-time listeners something to compare with.

Demolition is a bit over-mechanized at times, but for the most-part, production went quite well. The song keeps a steady pace on a long chorus, but can be entertaining to any RnB listener due to all the stops that the voice of Kiki Rowe pulls out to impress listeners.

I have big hopes that Kiki Rowe ranges her music a bit more to appeal to a wider demographic than just the RnB/Soul fan. Alternative fans might find love for Rowe’s music, but currently it feels a bit too focused on one brand. This is, however, coming from somebody who claims RnB to be a favorite genre, so basically the same as a baker talking about an overpopulation of cupcakes in a bakery; we don’t really mind it one bit! So this is more professional opinion than criticism.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9.25/10

The song is a huge return for Kiki Rowe and reminds me of Go Getta quite a bit in its potential. I recommend a listen below:

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Album Review – Kiki Rowe, Kiki Rowe (Self-Titled LP)

I have written about/worshiped the ground of Toronto RnB singer Kiki Rowe, whose self-titled album just released this afternoon. I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for her new music, and figured while listening I would review her works.

As neutrally as possible, I will break down this album track by track. However, Kiki Rowe hits home for all of my favorites from music (solid production, RnB, Hip-Hop vibe without overdoing it, etc.) so I will be a bit biased towards her songs. That being said, let’s go through each song on Kiki Rowe:

1. Go Getta ft. Maino – Go Getta is a mellow RnB/Hip-Hop piece that is smooth and calming. The hook does not pick up the pace to the point where it goes off-key, but there is something about the chorus that is so well executed that it makes the song entertaining throughout. Maino does a great job of staying with a hard beat to rap to, and the rapper caps off the verse before it starts to get old. It’s a well-rounded song overall and gives a great idea of what the album will sound like. 9.5/10

2. Trust Issues – Already broke this song down here.

3. Too Good To Be You – The empowerment of Too Good To Be You is, if slightly gender-biased, still very motivational and inspiring. It basically goes with the “go with your gut” vibe in a relationship, which I understand from experience is a hard decision to make.  Sometimes you are chronically disappointed in the relationship and Kiki Rowe delivers this message, though it becomes a little more spiteful than I had hoped. The vocals sound great and production is subtle while still playing its part. The song is cut a little short, at only 2:38 long. 9/10

4. Be Alright – This was the song I was originally going to write about. Be Alright was the first Rowe song I heard, and while I find songs like Come Through better (Where was this on the album?) this was a great first impression. The unique sound and RnB flow of the song is melodic, and again I love production on this (though it does dominate the vocals at times). 9.25/10

5. Need You Now – Now we begin to hear the new stuff. This is the first song produced on this album by The Avengerz, who have a huge part in delivering this album successfully. Need You Now has a more pop-dance sound to it (similar to Jazmin Sisters), and I actually love it. If a song were going to be a breakout record for this artist, it would definitely be this one. It still retains an RnB feel but keeps the song exciting, making it my favorite on this album. 9.75/10

6. Always – The second song produced by The Avengerz is Always. The track picks up pace a bit too quickly into the hook, but the RnB sound and consistent beat make the song interesting throughout. Though the song is short, it’s the right length for the song it presents, pulling off only 2:40. 8.75/10

7. Saddest Song – Cancer, death, hunger, and more despair-causing topics are actually not the subject of Saddest Song. Kiki Rowe explains that she has changed her outlook on life and no longer considers herself “The saddest song.” I really like the message and Rowe’s voice in this song, and while there are times that the beat feels conflicting with her voice, it catches on to the unique sound of Kiki and really defines the song. 8.5/10

8. Painted Chains – The lyrics don’t quite stand out to me, but this has a beautifully complex beat and an amazing chorus. The start of the song originally pushed me away but the track really appeals to me by the end. For a while you just kind of play mad-libs with the phrase, “Painted Chains on the _____.” The bridge ends this sequence and sounds how the first two stanzas should have. 9/10

9. Be Alright (DJ Phresh Remix) – Some songs were not meant to be sped up, and I feel as though Be Alright was one of them. It truly is a sped up and more club-based concept of the track. The hook-beat is actually really impressive though, making the song worth a listen. The house music in this album switches up the sound of Kiki, which I can appreciate. Therefore, despite my disappointment with the mixing of Rowe’s voice, I will rate it better for originality. 8.25/10

So overall that averages out to exactly 9/10, which is pretty satisfactory to my standards. I was impressed by Rowe’s debut and quite liked a few songs (and cannot wait to hear more again), though I am a bit bitter that we could not get Come Through on there. But I will stop whining and recommend that you simply go over to earmilk.com to hear the mini-album on Soundcloud.

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Single – Kiki Rowe, Trust Issues

I guess my artist recommendation for Kiki Rowe a few days ago was untimely, as she has just released a new song, which happens to be produced by DJ Mustard. It seems Kiki is on a roll with new music and videos lately, and adding DJ Mustard to her connections is a huge boost for her career.

Before you ask, this song has nothing to do with Drake’s song. Also, if you assume this song has the typical DJ Mustard sound, then – well, you would not be completely wrong. It almost seems as if someone told him that he could not use his “snap, boom boom (aye aye)” pattern from many popular songs, so he tried to refrain from it. Then, when they left him unsupervised with the production system, he sneakily added a few in there. It does have a unique piano instrumental and beat behind it but it almost seems that DJ Mustard started tweaking and just kept saying “Just one more time, only on the hook.” It just feels indecisive whether it should be a slow RnB song or a more upbeat Hip-Hop work.

So how about the vocals? I cannot really say anything bad about Kiki Rowe’s part in this song, her voice sounds lovely and if you’ve liked her earlier tracks then this will also likely appeal to listeners. I would seriously recommend sticking both earphones in your noggin if you plan on listening to this song right away though, some songs are just like that; You know, where you cannot get the full effect until hearing it bounce off the walls within skull.

I found this song hard to rate, as there are a lot of things I like about it but I feel like the beat weighs it down a bit. I like several DJ Mustard beats (but then again who doesn’t?) but this one just did not stand out for being too chaotic and unprofessional. I was thoroughly impressed by Rowe’s voice, and regardless like the song for that aspect of it. I would never consider the opportunity of working with DJ Mustard a waste, but his end felt a bit bland. I feel like the beat is seriously trying to dominate the vocals, and that seems to be aimed at the wrong singing voice.

So let me try it. Overall I would rate the song at 9/10. I do still like the beat and love the sound of Kiki Rowe, especially because the track compares to her other works (especially Be Alright). I do feel like this song has a serious chance of getting some big attention. So for now, you’ll have to go over to Complex.com to hear it:

http://www.complex.com/music/2014/10/kiki-rowe-trust-issues-premiere?utm_campaign=complexmusic%2Bsocialflow%2B10%2B2014&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

-Austin Heath

Artist Recommendation – Kiki Rowe

In my next Artist picks we have Kiki Rowe. Kiki is an up-and-coming Canadian RnB/Alternative singer. Sound familiar? Yes, Kiki bears serious resemblance to The Weeknd, and that is definitely not a bad thing. If you enjoy listening to Abel, you should seriously listen to this girl’s stuff.

Be Alright and All We Got are excellent, but my number one pick of the Mississauga native’s songs is Come Through. All of her songs have a gorgeous sound though, and her diverse music ranges from low-key RnB to Alternative-pop. The beautiful artist keeps her work original and interesting throughout every track.

I’m leaving her 10 SoundCloud tracks below, but if you do not have enough time to listen to them all then I recommend at least giving my three favorites above a listen. Overall, I would rate her sound at 9.5/10. While her sound is similar to The Weeknd’s, it is distinct and quite majestic. I would love to hear a little less editing in some of her tracks (something I’ve noticed changing anyways though). Now check out her music below:

-Austin Heath