Kelis -‘Flesh Tone.’ (Will.I.Am/Interscope)
Ten years after she appeared, out of nowhere onto daytime radio yelling ‘I Hate You So Much Right Now!’ on her first hit ‘Caught Out there’ Kelis Rogers has been a force to be reckoned with. Her profile has been up and down over ensuing the decade (her second album wasn’t even released in the U.S. and it performed poorly here) but she’s been responsible for some great tracks -‘Milkshake’ ‘Good Stuff’ ‘Bossy’ and her collaboration with Ol’ Dirty Bastard on ‘Got Your Money.’ As well as O.D.B. she’s worked with a huge collection of the Great (N.E.R.D, Andre 3000) the good (Moby) and a few ‘what the hell…? (Enrique Iglesias).
This is album number five and I find myself making the strange comparison with Teenage Fanclub. Whilst it might be argued that the only thing she and TFC have in common is making some great music, that’s the point of it. Both acts have produced some utterly brilliant stuff over the years, that has been classic and proved the soundtrack to myself and other people’s lives. Yet both have also produced strong stuff of their own -and yet at times seem to be losing momentum when they ape other people too much. In the case of TFC they lost momentum when they started to ape Neil Young too much over Dinosaur Jr. In Kelis’ case, it’s wondering why she’s trying to copy the poppier sounds of the last year (Lady Gaga, la Roux).
That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with this album. There isn’t -and there’s some really cool, fun tunes on here – single ‘Acapella’ you’ve probably heard by now, and I don’t doubt that both ‘Home’ and ‘4th of July (Fireworks)’ will follow it into the charts too. Who she works with his decision, and if she decided that she wasn’t going to work with the Neptunes, but instead the likes of Benny Benassi, Will.I.Am and David Guetta that’s her business. This is much more dancey and poppy than the Hip-Hop/Urban slant of her earlier work, and maybe that’s why I feel a bit miffed. She’s perfectly at liberty not to remake Tasty and Kaleidoscope.
But I just feel that there’s not an awful lot of Kelis in here.
*** (***1/2 if it was anyone else).
Flesh Tone is out now.