Thursday, July 08, 2010

Kelis, "Flesh Tone" (A&M)

What a long, strange trip it’s been for Kelis. She broke onto the music scene like a black Alanis Morissette with 1999 single “Caught Out There,” armed with an endless supply of Neptunes beats. After finally breaking through with 2003 smash hit “Milkshake,” Kelis’s profile became more about her tabloid-baiting personal life than musical impact. Possibly realizing just how little fan base she had left in the States, her complete reinvention into modern dance diva is a savvy if cynical move. Working with DJ mega-stars like Benny Benassi and Dave Guetta alongside electro heroes Boys Noize, Kelis has crafted a quick-fix soundtrack for her shiny new persona. Clocking in at under 38 minutes, “Flesh Tone” explodes with bombastic club beats and hands-in-the-air euphoria designed for maximum summer impact. Tracks like“4th of July/Fireworks” exude an Ibiza-at-4AM energy ideal for any dance floor—but little else. Which in this case, is pretty much the point. Much like the sonic equivalent of a perfectly trashy summer beach novel, “Flesh Tone,” is just for fun.

(Originally published on