Almost SoS: 2007 – Kelly Rowland’s “Like This”

Posted: August 23, 2010 by RA in Music
Tags: ,

Rihanna vs. RowlandSong of the Summer: “Umbrella” by Rihanna
From the jump, Rihanna has been a novelty act. From IDJ trying to appeal to mainstream fetishization of the exotic (“The song that’s been heating up the Caribbean!!”) with “Pon Di Replay” to her metamorphosis into the poster-girl for Focus-Group Edge, Rihanna has always been more gimmick than woman.
“Umbrella” was the single point at which one image transitioned into the other. The”ella/eh” refrain that was so befuddling yet catchy, only worked when viewed through the prism of her Islandness. The far less exotic reality is that those flourishes were more the trademark of the unfortunately named Terius Nash (The-Dream, if you will).
And in an era where everyone was styled to look like a certain Pop star (except for Kelis, but nobody cared about her), the opening shots of the video showing Rihanna’s new look, accurately described in one publication as a “career-making haircut”, make such a major statement that it’s easy to forget how awful the rest of the clip is.

Almost SoS: “Like This” by Kelly Rowland (featuring Eve)
When the Sexual Chocolate of Destiny’s Child teamed up with the Hollywoodest of all female MCs (yes, all 4 of them), it should’ve been an event record, but “This” had the distinct smell of mediocrity. Rowland had always been the Celie to Beyoncé’s Shug, while Eve’s best days were slowly becoming a distant memory.
Still, something about this song, with a Bhangra-influenced, cowbell-driven beat from Polow Da Don, wormed its way into the ear of anyone who could be bothered to listen.

Why it Could’ve Been:
Two words: that beat. Despite Eve sleepwalking through her verse, and Rowland tempering her usually powerful voice for a vocal performance Ginuwine could’ve given, this cut is insidiously catchy. The only one I can credit that to is Polow. But forget all that talk… Not sure it coulda been huge? Just ask yourself what would’ve happened if Beyoncé got her hands on this song.

Why it Wasn’t:
Label/Artist Fuckup. Sure, Rowland is all about being little Sally Solo now, but back then she was all too happy to be in The Creole One’s shadow. But then again, Matthew Knowles and Music World were just as happy with that arrangement. From the shitty video to the even shittier promo push, anyone watching would have no choice but to doubt Camp Rowland’s committment to Sparkle Motion. And her final shot at the big time — a BET Awards performance, the first 10 seconds of which actually saw her upstage her former bandmate — was a major fail thanks to vocals so shitty, Ginuwine could… well, you get the point.

The Video:

 The Performance:

NEXT: 2008


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