Kelly Rowland ''Rose Colored Glasses''

You gotta root for Kelly Rowland, having grown up almost literally in Beyonce’s shadow, as the perennial #2 of Destiny’s Child. Though she’s already put out two solo albums, and scored a couple of minor hits, she hasn’t put out that definitive record yet, and you have to wonder just how much her career has been helped or hindered by her association with longtime manager (and Beyonce’s dad) Mathew Knowles – an association that finally ended in 2009.

While Rowland, who turns 30 in February, is still readying her third album – her first for UniversalMotown – for release later this year, she put out a cluster of great singles in 2010, including “Commander”, with frequent collaborator David Guetta, and the sassy, Ne-Yo co-penned “Grown Woman”.

But my favorite of the bunch so far is “Rose Colored Glasses”, a grand, heart-wounded ballad about a relationship that looks good on the outside, but is rotting from within. Co-written by Ester Dean and Swedish pop mastermind Dr. Luke – the man who gave us Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” and virtually the entire Ke$ha oeuvre – it’s an uncharacteristically emotionally raw song that, both in terms of sound and subject matter, seems like it might have been intended for Rihanna. But, let there be no doubt, Rowland owns this song, delivering it with enviable strength, stunning elegance, and an honesty devoid of self-pity that she projects both outward and inward, telling herself as much as she’s telling the listener: Everything seems amazing when you’re looking through rose colored glasses – Take ’em off.