It has been a long wait, but Kelly really delivers here. The album is very consistent and it really is difficult to pick out the highlights. I'm now looking forward to the International Edition for even more treats from Kelly. The fast stuff is really very good and they are promising more of it, but the two main slowies on this album, All Of The Night and Keep It Between Us, do hint at another side to Kelly worth exploring and are also very addictive. This version is worth it for the amazingness of Each Other alone, which makes up for Heaven and Earth, which is somewhat of a letdown, I have to say, as it lacks edge. Please support Kelly, as her talent is often overlooked and she deserves much more success!
Although I still stand by my original review and think that the full international edition, based on the music alone, is still well worth the 5 stars I gave back then, I really must vent my disappointment at what has turned out to be the final version. It is an insult, not only to us as customers, but also to Kelly herself, that they have simply attached a few hits (or not) from the past few YEARS to fill out the album and then call it a new release. Excellent as these songs are, it is just lazy and nothing other than a grabby move by her managers. I doubt she is that happy about it herself - she must feel as if her record company has no belief in her at all. Admittedly, a new customer gets a really good, long album when they buy the new version, but most people will have bought the earlier verson and will not necessarily bother with this. As a completist and hardcore Kelly fan myself, even I am not jumping on this. Even in 2 years when this cost 1p from some merchant, I'd probably still begrudge the postage, and that is saying something.
The sad thing is that the way that this album has been released might seriously damage, or has already damaged, Kelly's marketability and credibility as an artist, as the old version has been available for months, not even at a scary import price. So everyone has gradually been buying their copy, first the hardcore fans, then the newcomers based on the news of her X factor role, then those who have enjoyed her as an X factor judge. Then comes along the revised copy and is so disappointing that nobody wants to purchase it in addition. Months of sales are staggered, meaning that this album has no means of impacting on the charts and then selling on the strength of that success. It will just ebb away into oblivion. There has even been talk for months of a new album due in early spring, making this release even more of a throwaway move.
WARNING - Compulsory Beyoncé Reference: Kelly really deserves better than this. How is she ever to shrug off the Beyoncé comparisons when her camp is obviously letting her down. I must admit that Down for Whatever's chart placing surprised me (excellent song for an album, but not expressly designed for the charts on its own) and does show that the hype surrounding Kelly could have been used a lot better to make this album sell well, but they seem to have ruined the chances of that from the outset. Now everyone just thinks they are right when they say that Beyoncé can still sell, whereas her DC sister cannot. I feel it is also more of an embarassment for Kelly, as it makes it look as if she is too worthless to even profit from her X factor role like that lucky Cheryl Cole, who managed to churn out many a "hit" on the back of X Factor.
I really hope for the future that they can give Kelly the chance she deserves. She has the talent and this album proves she can have the material, but the marketing strategy is just plain silly.
I yearn to be proved wrong by this album rocking the charts in the coming weeks, as it really deserves to do, but something tells me that won't happen.