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Reviews 18/01/2004

Album Of The Week: Kelis

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by Mikey (Gillingham, Kent, UK) - Each week I preview an album which I think deserves a listen to and if it's worth to buy, I will cater for all tastes of music from R'n'B to Rock, Hip hop and Pop. At the end of the page, you will find all future album releases.

Kelis - Tasty
Release Date: 12 January 2004

Kelis...the girl that used to "Hate you so much right now" is now all about having that milkshake everyone wants to have. One of the thinks that pulled me in on Kelis is her sound and whom she came across in her songs. Her first CD is still classic and the second was also good and now this brings us to Tasty. She came strong this time around with 'Milkshake', giving her first No.3 single and maybe soon No.1. It also includes 2 songs from her last CD, which I guess she felt were good enough a second time around.

It's one of life's great mysteries why Kelis didn't go supernova on the back of The Neptunes upward trajectory. Back in 1999 she looked a dead cert. The insanely catchy single 'Caught Out There' - the one with the "I Hate You So Much Right Now" chorus - was hurtling up the charts and she'd recorded an all-time classic cameo on ODB's 'Got Your Money'. Her album 'Kaleidoscope' was a truly stunning affair too - operating beyond genre classifications and produced with some flair by the soon-to-be ever-present axis of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. Some say it's still the greatest thing the productive duo have done.

But things seemed to go awry soon after. The follow-up album 'Wonderland' bombed. It wasn't even released in the US. Record companies didn't know how to categorize her and rumours that Kelis was stepping out with P Diddy garnered far more column inches than her music.

Thankfully 'Tasty' should put right this. It's not as far out wild as 'Kaleidoscope' but it is a time after time imaginative and brilliant album.

As one would expect Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo are all over it. They contribute five tracks and their trademark sound is replicated just about everywhere else. 'Milkshake' nestles in seamlessly, the rhythm as persistent as a parade of majorettes with Kelis upfront as the cheerleader. 'Flashback' is another killer from the N*E*R*D drum machine, with a great "Yeah Yeah Yeah" chorus from Pharrell, while 'Protect My Heart' might have been swiped from 'Justified'.

Yet the real highlights come from elsewhere. 'In Public' espouses the delights of al fresco sex over an experimental electro beat and features a dirty rap courtesy of new husband Nas. Suffice to say it leaves Beyonce and Jay-Z sounding like Mary Whitehouse and Cliff Richard. 'Millionaire', about the pitfalls of superstardom, is co-written and features Andre 3000 on the track itself, which is her next intended single to be lifted from her album. Daft, strange and touching it could have made 'The Love Below' - probably album of the year - even superior.

The aspiration runs slightly dry on the tracks co-written with soul man Raphael Saadiq but they're hardly filler. 'Glow', in particular, has a strikingly organic chorus; quite at odds with the more clinical beats elsewhere. Closing track 'Marathon' ups the ante again with a beautiful starstorm of strings, voice and beats that brings Massive Attack to mind. If this were Beyonce, then critics would choke on their sedatives.

Whether the world is ready for Kelis is another matter. This year kindred spirits like OutKast have changed the rules of the game so hopefully her eclectic spirit will find the wider audience it deserves. She's moved ahead of the pack for long enough - 'Tasty' gives everyone the opportunity to catch up.

These right here give you the new flavour that Kelis brings this time around that's good. As you already notice, this is about the whole album...but its good. She balances thinks well by letting other artists have input on the record showing that she isn't just a Neptunes creation. Conscious tracks, sexual tracks ...fast, midtempo to slow she brings it all. This is a good step up from Kaleidoscope and any fan should get this one.... non-fans give it a try. Overall without hesitation...Get It! Or else the pop police will be after you
10/10

Tracklisting
1 Intro
2 Trick Me
3 Milkshake
4 Keep It Down
5 In Public (featuring Nas)
6 Flashback
7 Protect My Heart
8 Millionaire (featuring Andre 3000)
9 Glow (featuring Raphael Saadiq)
10 Sugar Honey Iced Tea
11 Attention (featuring Raphael Saadiq)
12 Rolling Through The Hood
13 Stick Up
14 Marathon

Album Release Schedule

January 19
Amy Studt - False Smiles

January 26
Air - Talkie Walkie
JC Chasez - Schizophrenic

February 2
Lost Prophets - Start Something
Clea - Identity Crisis
Jaimeson - Think On Your Feet

February 9
Emma - Free Me
Joss Stones - The Soul Sessions






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