K.T.S.E. - Teyana Taylor
K.T.S.E. (Keep That Same Energy) is the final of the seven track albums (this one has eight) from Kanye West's multiple records this summer. The album produced entirely by Kanye is the most eclectic and different of the bunch. This more than anything is the loving album, sweet subtle tones including a beautiful guitar line on "Gonna Love Me" really allow Teyana's vocal to shine. With the other albums in this series, it was Kanye at his most Kanye-y, over the top production, big sounds and even bigger ideas. However on K.T.S.E. things slow down, a breath is taken and we end up at this really sweet and beautiful place. This album feels like it is more about love than sex, more about understanding than dominating. It is the most open of the albums, welcoming listeners into a sepia toned world that only the laser sounds on "Issues/Hold On" can break through. Even on "Hurry" the more sexually charged song on the record, there is still a sweetness to it. The grittiness is so different than the other G.O.O.D. Music releases this year. "Hurry" masterfully melds the sounds of old school R&B and some modern sentiments. There are interesting ideas being explored on this album, and shows a real shift in what R&B and Soul can be, the problem is Teyana Taylor just doesn't sell it all that well.
Teyana has a solid voice, decent delivery but she doesn't make you love her. SZA is younger with a hell of a lot less experience under her belt, but makes you melt almost instantly. That is clearly who Taylor is going after with this album, but K.T.S.E. never comes close to Ctrl. "Rose in Harlem" where Teyana actually raps a little gives you a better look at her voice. When she is not straight singing she is miles better. "Never Would Have Made It" has some of the most interesting production on the album with the piano and bass driving the thing while electronics skitter away somewhere in the background, Her voice just doesn't cut the mustard. She sounds like she is trying to sound like someone, someone who does R&B in 2018, rather than her own self. A lot of people are frustrated with the bungled roll out of K.T.S.E., it's a G.O.O.D. Music album over course the roll out is going to be clunky as hell, they always are. "WTP" (Work This Pussy) is where it really falls apart, with this early 90s house beat and a sexual vibe that is far to on the nose. Kanye has never been known for subtlety, but this one is just ridiculous. The song also sticks out like a sore thumb on this album, and seems to miss on almost every level. There just isn't enough for this album to truly shine, it's a vague shadow of SZA it's trying to imitate.
6.3 out of 10