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In a Perfect World

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Album Review

After lengthy delays and some surprisingly low-performing singles, In a Perfect World... was issued in March 2009 and happened to sync up with Keri Hilson's first solo Top 20 hit, the coquettish trunk rattler "Turnin Me On." Prior to this, Hilson was quite familiar with high chart positions as a songwriter and featured vocalist. She co-wrote Mary J. Blige's "Take Me as I Am" and Omarion's "Ice Box," both of which went Top Five hip-hop/R&B, as well as Ludacris and Blige's "Runaway Love," Timbaland's "The Way I Are" (featuring Hilson on vocals), and Britney Spears' "Gimme More," all of which were Top Five pop hits. Throw in some other prominent features, including Xzibit's "Hey Now (Mean Muggin')," Diddy's "After Love," two additional highlights from Timbaland's Shock Value, and Nas' "Hero," and you have an established track record for a serious singing/songwriting threat — Siedah Garrett to the tenth power or stiff competition for Ne-Yo and the-Dream. With all but three of the 14 tracks produced by some combination of Timbaland, Polow da Don, and Danja, In a Perfect World... nonetheless reflects the versatility Hilson demonstrated prior to its release. It's a songwriting showcase as much as it is a coming out for a full-blown artist, yet more about what Hilson can do than who Hilson is. If she wasn't so adept with her pen, didn't fill the songs with her beaming personality and casually fluid voice, and didn't have top-level producers providing mostly excellent beats, it would be a mess. Sonically and (especially) lyrically, the album covers most bases when it comes to pop-oriented R&B, all scattered across a set that is heavy on solid club tracks (including the kinetic clap-and-bounce of "Get Your Money Up," a female anthem) and passable-to-steamy ballads (ranging emotionally from seductive to regretful). The slower tracks don't match up to their opposites, or even the bittersweet midtempo cut "Alienated," but they're not enough of a snag to prevent the album from being one of 2009's most replayable R&B releases.


Born: 05 December 1982 in Decatur, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Before she could utilize her talents for her own solo endeavors, R&B singer, vocal arranger, and songwriter Keri Hilson wrote a slew of songs, many of them chart-toppers, for several popular artists in the mid-2000s as part of the five-person production/songwriting team known as the Clutch. The dynamic songwriter was born in Decatur, GA, only a few miles outside of Atlanta. Addicted to TV talent shows like Star Search and Showtime at the Apollo, she was already plotting out her career in music at...
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