What with being the only one in the Pussycat Dolls who ever really sang, Nicole Scherzinger’s had a surprisingly tough time “making it” as a solo artist. Her first bash at Going It Alone was so poorly received that the release of a finished album in 2007 was cancelled, but now that she’s officially parted ways with the Dolls, made her mark on the UK ‘X Factor’ as a guest judge, and opted for a more dancefloor-friendly sound, Attempt #2 seems to be going a lot better.
‘Killer Love’ reminds us exactly why Nicole got to do most of the singing with Kimberley, Melody, Comet, Rudolph etc: she’s got a great voice. She can reign it in (‘Power’s Out’) and she can belt it out (‘Club Banger Nation’), sounding as affected (‘AmenJena’) or empowered (‘Poison’) as she so desires. The only problem with showing off so many different vocal capabilities is the incoherence in the tunes – one minute we’re raving to euro-dance, the next we’re holding lighters in the air to epic balladry, and then before you know it we’re duetting with Sting. Ultimately the uptempo stuff wins out, with ‘Poison’ and the title track getting the LP off to a soaring start and ‘Club Banger Nation’ coming off rather addictive despite a laughable title. On the other hand though, ‘Desperate’ is a satisfying midtempo heartbreak anthem that provides a rare moment of producer RedOne calming down a bit, and ‘AmenJena’ strips things back to just a piano and vocal for a superb five-minute finale. Sounds a little out of place, but in its own right it’s pretty touching.
Generally ‘Killer Love’ is nothing to set Nicole head and shoulders above her countless contemporaries, but that said it’s a well-produced LP that jogs along nicely and provides a few more potential hit singles. Fourteen tracks is a bit of a stretch considering the lack of cohesion in the second half, but the important thing is that Solo Scherzy is now properly on her feet with a solid début under her belt.