Album Review: Kelly Rowland – ‘K’ (EP)

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost eight years since Kelly Rowland has released a body of work. Since the release of her last studio album Talk A Good Game, Kelly has been keeping busy with being a wife and mother of now two sons (she gave birth to her second child, Noah, on January 21st), acting and getting the endorsement bags here and there. But that hasn’t fully kept her away from the music. Now, Kelly is back with a new EP simply titled K.

Kelendria has been working her way towards the release of K for some time now. She released the buzz single “Kelly” in 2018 along with a Christmas single the following year titled “Love You More at Christmas Time” in promotion for her Lifetime holiday movie Merry Liddle Christmas. It was 2020 when things started kicking into high gear, releasing the melanated “Coffee” co-written by Syd. From there, the new EP started kicking into gear. Clocking in at just a little over 20 minutes, K is a six-track collection of where the 40 year-old singer-songwriter is now with her music. The set kicks off with the haunting “Flowers,” where she sings about her devotion for the one she loves. Things start to pick up in high gear with the Afro-beat stylings of “Black Magic,” an ode to all things beautifully in Black love, especially important for currently celebrating Black History Month. “Hitman” is a 70s funk-inspired upbeat record that finds Kelly yearning her man and everything about him.

The theme of love seems to take center stage on the EP. “Crazy” is a Ricky Reed-disco number that has Kelly proclaiming if she’s going to be crazy for anything, it’ll be for her man. Side note: from the style of the track and even the cover art of the “Crazy” single, why has no one tapped Kelly for the Donna Summer biopic yet?

“Love should be calm/love should be still/love should be water through a quiet hill” sings Kelly on the acoustic-mellow vibes of “Speed of Love,” which almost sounds like a part-two to “Keep It Between Us” found on her 2011 album Here I Am. On the closer “Better,” the piano ballad turns into a calypso-inspired vibe at certain points where Kelly is staying by her man’s side and never leaving him and just wants the same in return.

Kelly has had one hell of a musical journey. With her solo success starting early while Destiny’s Child were on a break in 2002 by teaming up with Nelly on the massive number one Billboard Hot 100 hit “Dilemma,” she’s found herself in a battle of trying to please the masses and live up to the DC chart standards. With a few top 40 hits and top ten albums, Kelly has always cemented her solo career, but never received the appreciation. With such a soulful voice as hers, Kelly has always been able to dip in and out of R&B while exploring Dance/EDM, pop-rock, alternative, and more recently, afro-beats. K is all of her influences boiled into one pot. Her vocals are as velvet as ever for someone that’s been in this game almost 25 years. Kelly is at a place now where she can release music appeasing to herself and her loyal RowlandStones without the politics. Seeing Kelly return to her first love of music under new management with Roc Nation is almost like a love letter to herself on K and just getting her feet wet before diving into her long-awaited fifth album.

K is now available on streaming platforms and digital music retailers under her own label KTR Records.