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Album Review

Keri Hilson, 'Noy Boys Allowed'

January 3, 2011

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Rick Ross, J. Cole, Nelly, Chris Brown, and Kanye West appear here on songs executive produced by Timbaland and Polow da Don, meaning that probably too many boys were allowed in while Keri Hilson recorded her second disc. The singer-songwriter ends up sounding like just another pop vocalist in thrall to trends and processed beats rather than the talented artist that she is. Halfway through “Breaking Point,’’ Hilson does a Mary J. Blige-ish talk about the need for each woman to reclaim her life. This seems to be the theme the set was originally built around, as other songs like the swaggering “Pretty Girl Rock’’ (“don’t hate me because I’m beautiful’’), “Give Me What I Want’’ (an electro anthem), and “Buyou’’ are all finger-wagging affirmations of self. But she never maintains this strong sense of purpose. Instead, Hilson loses focus with hookless songs the busy production can’t save, while the MCs largely shoot blanks. “One Night Stand’’ is a soggy duet with Brown (still an egregious choice) and “Bahm Bahm (Do It Once Again)’’ is a faux dancehall track that sounds scraped from Rihanna’s basement floor. Girl, please. (Out now) KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Pretty Girl Rock’’