No Boys Allowed
Label: ISR/Mosley/Zone 4, PS
Keri Hilson is such a clever girl. We don't just mean that she is an intelligent individual, which she undoubtedly is: Her second album showcases supremely well-crafted and lovingly sung soul-pop, with particular emphasis on the pop, as Hilson treads more deeply into the big beats and fierce stances of diva territory. But she is also very clever about being a girl: No Boys is not only full of smart shout-outs to the ladies (and nuanced reminders about respecting them), it also articulates an idea of girlishness as a strength rather than a liability (see "Pretty Girl Rock").