Kelly Rowland is accustomed to singing about boys, bills, and being independent with Destiny's Child.

Kelly Rowland is accustomed to singing about boys, bills, and being independent with Destiny's Child. But on her fine solo debut, she takes a different musical path, with the single "Stole" taking a bold step in that direction. A moving tale of a high-school outcast set against a plaintive track, the song illustrates the alienation many teens feel, with vivid detail. The singer returns to more standard fare with "Haven't Told You," as her syrupy sweet alto glides over the acoustic guitar-driven ballad. The album's title track, a lush ballad, proves to be an exemplary showcase of Rowland's impressive vocal range, while she sheds her pretty pop-princess image on the racy "Make U Wanna Stay"—a hypnotic track featuring red-hot up-and-coming rapper Joe Budden. Rowland's recent chart-topping stint with Nelly via their smash, "Dilemma"—which also appears on Simply Deep—may be a sign of great things to come for the talented Houston native.—RH

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