For 9 straight tracks, Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is is note-for-note a perfect embodiment of adolescent heartbreak (nearly matching Brandy’s 10-track run on Never Say Never).
We Could Be is track 8, so its understandable that it gets lost amongst equally impressive material. I almost made the obvious choice of Love, I Thought You Had My Back for its brilliant last 2 minutes (I’m so wrong. I’m so WRONG), but We Could Be is a sly gem. This song stands out from the rest of the album for its relative subtlety.
And it’s all about Keyshia’s more plaintive vocal and a solid hook. Here the hook functions as the heart of the song and it is different every time you hear it. Keyshia’s adlibs over the second time the hook comes in basically re-write the meaning of the hook, as the song becomes more desperate and pleading from the second verse on.
That there’s no bridge is key. Bridges are often where a song turns. There is no turn here. Keyshia wants ole boy and that’s that, so she forgoes the bridge for a chant-like, We could be friends baby, as the vamp kicks in.
It’s a beautifully written and performed song and should have gotten more attention for these subtle nuances than it did.