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 to hear the mini-album on Soundcloud.

-Austin Heath