By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
By Julie Seabaugh
By Julie Seabaugh
The house-y, Rodney Jerkins-conceived "Lose My Breath," with its possessed drums, is an exercise in bootyliciousness that's making women everywhere shake (like Beyoncé, that is) and men tremble. Surprisingly, the standout singer isn't Beyoncé, it's Kelly, whose supple soprano delivers the most exquisite verse and "ooo" of them all.
The rest of the disc is smoother, with sufficient bounce, thumps and knocks to keep the listener enthralled. Take "Soldier," the second single featuring hood laureates T.I. and Lil' Wayne. Titillating snares and a steady, rims-spinning 808 pulse provide the ideal backdrop for the girls' thug-love anthem.
Chickenhead posturing aside, it's clear B, Kelly and Michelle are wholesome ladies. "Cater 2 U," for instance, isn't just a ballad, it's a menu full of pleasures they're willing to give their men. Though overly submissive, it's still very sweet. Along the same vein is the Dre & Vidal-helmed "T-shirt," a slow-grinding jam dripping with melodic sensuality.
But not all is happiness in love, of course, as proven by "Is She the Reason," a tale of vulnerability ("Got me feeling like I wasn't good enough") and the never-ending tug of war between the mind and the heart on which Michelle, with her raspy, Macy Gray-like voice, provides the edge. "Girl" is about finding the courage to leave an abusive relationship, while "If" is a soft kiss goodbye to a man who's taken them for granted. The album culminates with the gospel-tinged "Love," an inspiring reaffirmation about how, as fate would have it, the day they stopped searching for love was the day they found it.
Maybe it's their faith in God that helps them persevere in their tumultuous quest for love. This one, however, comes with fulfillment.