Make Sure They See My Face


    Kenna would like us to believe that he is some sort of stylistic chameleon (schizophrenic is his word; contrived is mine), but he’s really just switching between two different Clear Channel formats — Timberlake/Timbaland zip-hop grind and post-Coldplay grando-pop. He does neither convincingly, which is a shame considering his very close personal friend Chad Hugo (of the Neptunes) competently twiddles the knobs on Make Sure They See My Face. “Daylight” is a pounding opener that goes nowhere; “Better Wise Up” appropriates Thom Yorke’s drowning-man vocals with hip-hop drums for similarly limp results. As per Timberlake, “Say Goodbye to Love” is Kenna’s take on “Sexyback”; and where Timbaland’s relentless weirdness effectively effaced the former ‘N Sync-er’s pseudo-serious posing, Hugo’s crisp workstation doesn’t have a clue what to do with Kenna’s silly gravitas. It’s his overwrought vocal sensibility that really drags Make Sure They See My Face down into Starbucks country. “Don’t know if I want you to understand me/ or go,” he moans on “Static.” Hey, we were just about to leave, Ken! Lighten up, buddy, and you could very well be this generation’s Jamiroquai.