Kelis Was Here


This was unexpected. My previous exposure to R & B star Kelis was through her ubiquitous, but thoroughly great single “Milkshake.” The same minimalist arrangement showed up on this album’s lead single “Bossy,” but the rest of the 70-minute, wild genre-shifting ride Kelis Was Here takes is nothing short of confounding. Displacing The Neptunes’ previous monopolization of her production and installing a rotating cast in their stead is what pulls this album in so many directions. “Blindfold Me” is a near complete rehashing of “Bossy” right down to the vocal chorus melody and the hard charging electro riffs. It’s an obvious follow-up single, but does a great disservice to some of the truly great songs on here like “Till the Wheels Fall Off,” which feels like Prince flirting with an industrial, monotone rhythm section or the chemically-enhanced twang and swing of “Circus.” Lyrically, “Trilogy” and its invitation to join Kelis on intergalactic travels of love (?!) is nothing short of amazing. “Have a Nice Day,” the album’s final track, is the ultimate show-stopping statement; it starts with a slow Caribbean groove before breaking out a jaunty ukulele, incorporates applause and for the final three minutes features no vocals aside from some minimal whistling. It’s in total opposition to the current “club hit” aesthetic. Funny how what that crowd would consider filler, I view as a highlight… Mainstream R & B might bring you here, but you’ve got to be a fan of eclecticism to get your money’s worth out of this one.

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