Killer Love is Nicole Scherzinger's debut studio album that was released on March 18, 2011 by Interscope Records.
- Poison 3:47
- Killer Love 3:52
- Don't Hold Your Breath 3:17
- Right There 4:02
- You Will Be Loved 4:16
- Wet 3:37
- Say Yes 3:29
- Club Banger Nation 4:06
- Power's Out (featuring Sting) 4:08
- Desperate 3:27
- Everybody 3:48
- Heartbeat (Rudi Wells Open Heart Remix) (with Enrique Iglesias) 3:31
- Casualty 4:21
- AmenJena 5:20
Prior to worldwide success with The Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger initially began work on her debut studio album back in 2005.
The project (titled "Her Name is Nicole" saw her recording 75–100 songs, with some of the songs later ending up with the Pussycat Dolls. Amongst those working on the album were Akon, Gary Lightbody, Dr. Dre, Ne-Yo, T.I., Timbaland, will.i.am, and Kanye West.
Following four unsuccessful singles, Scherzinger admitted she was going to restart her album. In an interview with Billboard magazine in April 2009, she said "the current incarnation of [my album] is just in talks and in the writing process. I haven't started recording yet".
Singer-songwriter Keri Hilson, confirmed that Scherzinger's album was not released so that Scherzinger could focus on releasing new music with the Pussycat Dolls instead.
In January 2010, Scherzinger began the recording and writing process for a third time, reuniting with Ne-Yo on "personal and heartfelt" tracks. She attempted to launch her debut album for a second time on May 2010, with a brand new "rock, funk, soul edge" sound, and a brand new single called "Nobody Can Change Me."
Then in August 2010, Moroccan producer RedOne confirmed his involvement in the project during an interview with BBC Music, where he confirmed that it was the third time that new material had been recorded for the album.
When asked why he thought the album didn't previously come out, RedOne said: "Her last one never came out because it was collecting hamburgers, like fast food. One from McDonald's, one from Burger King, and so on. It tasted good, but it wasn't consistent." He confirmed that he had produced the majority of the new album.
Scherzinger followed up his comments in an interview with X magazine in September 2010, saying: "It was actually my decision not to put Her Name Is Nicole out, not the label's".
She then said how much of an honor it was to work with RedOne, "He's an unbelievable producer and musician. He had made some amazing songs with Lady Gaga. Now, there is someone with the 'x factor'. I can't touch GaGa or RedOne in that space, but I know that we've created something unique of our own."
RedOne revealed that Jimmy Iovine (chairman of Scherzinger's record label) personally called him to work on Scherzinger's album.
According to Billboard, Scherzinger had collaborated with Ne-Yo and Jay Sean for songs on the album while she confirmed that the album was mostly up-tempo songs which "lend themselves to live performances."
Even though Ne-Yo's songs are not featured on the international version of the album, Scherzinger confirmed that songs he produced would appear on the US version of "Killer Love."
When Scherzinger was asked by her UK-label (Polydor Records) which artists she wanted to work with, her only request was UK rapper Plan B.
Digital Spy asked Scherzinger to describe the album's sound, during an interview, she said: "the album is largely produced by RedOne, I wanted something explosive that could be staged live in a full performance and I needed music to match the intensity. That's what he did. It's raw, dangerous and big. That's what I want to be on stage. It's a different energy to Lady Gaga. The music is more rock, funk and soul inspired."
The album sees Scherzinger duet with two male vocalists. On the ballad, "Power's Out", she duets with English recording artist Sting.
Speaking of their collaboration (which took place with both singers in the same studio), Scherzinger said, "[Sting's] energy is very commanding, in a subtle way. He is giving, generous and kind. I flew to Boston for his show with The Police. I met him and he was everything and more than I thought. I felt like we were doing yoga when we were singing. He was such an easy guy to work with... Singing on the same mic you are really close. He had fresh breath. No broccoli in the teeth."
David Renshaw from PopDash said the song borrowed elements and the sound from The Police (a band Sting was previously the lead singer of) and in particular their 1983 hit single, "Every Breath You Take."
The other duet on the album is with Enrique Iglesias, on his 2010 single "Heartbeat". The version featured on Killer Love is the "Rude Well's Open Heart Remix". Ellwood noted that the remix "added beats changing the tone of the song completely."
Some of the album's ballads, "Casualty" and "Desperate", were likened to the style of Leona Lewis.
"Casualty" is one of the album's two closing ballads, the other being "AmenJena". The former is a "contemporary ballad-that's-not-a-ballad", while the latter is slower and more moving, as it is stripped of the album's synthesized and electronic production, to leace Scherzinger's voice with the piano-led melody.
The album's other ballad "Everybody" also restricts the polished production, "to allow Scherzinger's voice to be the main focus."
Kim Dawson, from The Daily Star, noted "Everybody" as the album's "goosebump ballad" moment.
When talking to MTV, in the United States, Scherzinger said [in context of the US version of her album] it was "a mixture of strong dance anthems, urban twists and uplifting songs."
Critics noted "You Will Be Loved" for its background vocals, which contain some yodelling.
The song's chorus is constructed by repeating the title of the song, similar to "Gimme More" by Britney Spears and "Halo" by Beyoncé.
It was written by Timothy and Theron Thomas, a duo who had previously written "Supervillain", the third single from Scherzinger's ill-fated first incarnation of her solo album, "Her Name Is Nicole."
"Right There" was compared to Rihanna's "Rude Boy", only politer in tone; both songs were co-written by Ester Dean. The latter features a "glistening beat", over which Scherzinger becomes territorial with her man, and warns other girls away.
Additionally, an alternate version of the song was recorded with 50 Cent, to be included on the US version of "Killer Love" (which was never released).
The album's lead single, "Poison", was described by 4 Music as a club thumper, while the follow-up, "Don't Hold Your Breath", was described as "sort-of-ballad-but-not-really."
The Observer's Michael Cragg also noted "Don't Hold Your Breath" as a "classy don't-darken-my-door-again anthem."
Dawson noted the freedom theme in the song, likening it to a "Sugababe trying to break free" while Renshaw compared the song to Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown's 2008 duet "No Air."
"Killer Love" also features a number of up-tempo songs including "Wet", which was described as a "party playlist essential" thanks to its throbbing base and electronic beats. The song was described by Phillip Ellwood from Entertainment Focus, as the best of the up-tempos
The title track was described as "catchy", with a "juicy beat", and "radio-friendly" chorus. It features a "HI-NRG" beat with saucy lyrics which "equate love to actual, physical pain.
Another one of the up-tempo songs from the album, "Club Banger Nation" features a 1990s Europop introduction, with "shimmering beats and belting vocals."
"Say Yes" was originally produced by The Cave (Jonas Saeed & Pontus Söderqvist), during early recording sessions. It was written by RedOne, Jimmy Joker, Jonas Saeed, Pontus Söderqvist, Nailah Thourbourne, Nyanda Thourbourne, Tasha Thourbourne, Candace Thourbourne.
Nailah had previously worked with Scherzinger twice, contributing to "Puakenikini" with Nayanda Thourborne and working with Akon, Scherzinger and Giorgio Tuinfort on the song "On My Side".
Both songs were recorded for "Her Name Is Nicole", though the former was also released as one of the unreleased album's ill-fated singles.
For its inclusion on the album, "Say Yes" was re-tooled and reproduced by RedOne and Joker Renshaw compared the song to works by Taio Cruz, thanks to the elements of Eurodance present in its production.
In early 2011, Scherzinger announced that the musically diverse music she recorded had a bittersweet theme in which she titled the album, "Killer Love", saying:
"I wrote 'Killer Love' about a tortured love. Where you can't get enough of the love but it's not good for you. And I guess when the fans listen to the album, I want them to know that a lot of the music that I chose had to do with my past experiences and relationships, where I've lost myself many times. It's [about] being lost and broken and in a very fearful, dark place and the process [of] coming out of that. It's a very empowering album but it comes from a place of heartbreak."
On March 2, 2011, Rap-Up revealed the cover art along with the track listing for the album.
On the standard album cover, Scherzinger strikes a comfy pose, cracking a half-smile with a tuft of gray fur draped over her left shoulder.
On October 20, 2011, the re-release album cover was released with Scherzinger smiling coyly and draped lightly in a loose, unidentified, furry and wind-blown article of clothing similar to the first cover.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, a new version of the album was released in November 2011, featuring several new songs including a new single, "Try With Me."
A further repackaged version of the album was in development for the United States, featuring an alternate track listing.
During an interview with MTV, Scherzinger confirmed that the US album would contain contributions from RedOne, Ne-Yo, Jim Jonsin, The-Dream and Tricky Stewart.
In addition to this, 50 Cent was featured on the album's US lead single, a new version of the Jonsin-produced, "Right There." Snoop Dogg was to appear on one of the new songs recorded for the US album.
At the time of recording in August 2011, Scherzinger had over 40 songs to choose from for the new release, but said that it would "not be finished until the very last minute. I don't know if I will ever feel like I have finished the album."
After being part of the inaugural judging panel on the first season of reality TV show, The X Factor USA, the following year in 2012, she crossed the Atlantic to judge (and win) the ninth series of the British edition of "The X Factor."
Whilst deciding whether or not to return to tenth series, Scherzinger unveiled that she had been working on her second studio album due for a global release in November 2013.
The planned US release of the album and the "Killer Love" era ended soon after.
Digital Spy confirmed that Scherzinger had left Interscope for a new record deal with RCA Records and Sony Music. Her second album, "Big Fat Lie" was released on October 17, 2014.
"Killer Love" peaked at #8 on the UK Albums chart and was certified gold.
The album also reached the charts in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and Switzerland.
"Killer Love" received a mixed to positive response from critics.
Some critics praised Scherzinger's strong vocals and conviction to convey emotion, while others criticized her choice of allowing RedOne to produce the majority of the album, stating that some of the songs sounded too similar to each other.
The Observer's Michael Cragg noted the album as being consistent with most other modern R&B albums, stating: "Killer Love is two thirds deliriously catchy pop stompers and one third balladry."
Cragg also noted that Scherzinger's "not so inconsiderable voice" takes a backseat allowing the record producers to inject their own influences into her music.
Alex Macpherson from BBC Online commented that "Scherzinger is one of the few pop performers with the requisite power to dominate [her] beats rather than vice versa. Killer Love is far from the album you sense Scherzinger could still deliver: at times, her personality is all that – barely – carries substandard, unmemorable songs."
Kim Dawson from The Daily Star was positive, saying that "Nicole's solo record truly is killer and no filler."
Another positive reaction came from "Entertainment Focus" who went to say that: "Killer Love is a competent and enjoyable record from one of the nicest women in pop. Fingers crossed this time it works out for her."
The 4Music review was also positive, noting that "Killer Love will definitely establish her as a viable act in her own right."
Robert Copsey wrote favorably for Digital Spy that "Killer Love is a sturdy debut from the part-time X Factor judge that, in part, lives up to her promise of being "in your face and strong".
However, Hugh Montgomery from The Independent gave it a negative review for a perceived lack of originality and musical identity, calling it "a debut that bludgeons the listener with faux-raunchy Euro-dance before flatlining with the obligatory earnest balladry and a Sting duet. At 14 tracks, it's at least 12 too long, much of it imaginably pilfered off Rihanna's reject pile."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote for AllMusic that the album don't have "powerful hooks in the rhythms or melodies."