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Released: 4th July 2005.

Keyshia Cole - The Way It IsAfter a year of hype, leaked tracks and two singles, Keyshia Cole finally released her debut, "The Way It Is", to an impressive No. 6 position on the Billboard chart.

With collaborators including Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Eve and Jadakiss, this was always destined to be a significant release. But does it mean it's good?

"(I Just Want It) To Be Over" and the Kanye West-assisted "I Changed My Mind", both released as singles in America, display Keyshia's soaring vocals and set the tone for the rest of the album. What follows is a series ballads and up-beat club tracks telling the story of a wronged woman ("Thought You Had My Back", "I Should've Cheated") trying to find true love ("Love, "We Could Be").

Most songs are made up of lush backing vocals and harmonies. However, these are not to disguise a lack of talent; even on the stripped-down arrangement of "Love" Cole impresses with one of the strongest vocal performances on the CD.

The album one low point is "Down & Dirty", a mediocre effort that feels out place here.

The live version of "Love" puts to shame established "divas", as does Cole's inclusion on the majority of the writing credits.

With this much talent, personality and attitude, expect to be hearing from this lady for many years to come.

* * * * (child_destinys)

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