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Thursday
May202010

KELIS || Flesh Tone

Kelis
Flesh Tone
Label: Will.I.Am. Music Group
Released on: May 17th, 2010
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

2010 will be the year that Pop music belongs to Kelis. For those of you looking for a healthy alternative to the oversaturation of Gaga in your mainstream diet, Ms. Rogers is here to give you some supplements of good old fashioned Electro-House, Italo-Disco grooves, and anything else from the Electronic music stratosphere she can cram into 9 tracks. “Flesh Tone” is an album that really should’ve happened years ago, but her timing couldn’t be better. Kelis has always flirted with the dancefloor through collaborations with production heavyweights such as Timo Maas (“Help Me”) and Richard X (“Finest Dreams”). It took her quite some time to come full circle back to this point after the subpar “Kelis Was Here,” but it’s safe to say that both Kelis followers and newcomers alike will appreciate this direction.

Initial impressions of “Flesh Tone” remind me strongly of the way I felt in hearing her “Wanderland” album – which is still as of yet unreleased in the US. Kelis has always been quite an anomaly in Pop/R&B music. She’s experimental and adventurous, but there’s always been an uncomfortable air surrounding her that, just maybe, her major record label isn’t letting her loose. “Flesh Tone” is the sound of just that – Kelis letting loose. While we may never get “Wanderland” stateside (unless if you illegally download it, which I won’t suggest doing, but if you love Neptunes’ production . . . well, you know the rest), this is an even more impressive side of Kelis.

Instead of giving us another album of Milkshakes and "Bossy" rip-offs, Kelis is crashing gay clubs and emanating Donna Summer. ‘Home’ is destined to rule Euro-Trance dancefloors all over the world while ‘Scream,’ one of the David Guetta produced tracks (along with the minimalistic floor-filling single, ‘Acapella’) is a droning masterpiece with its impressive crescendos and thickly layered Kelis vocals. What stands out on the album apart from the rest, though, is ‘Brave’. At the moment, it’s not public knowledge as to who produced every track on this record, but I’d put my money on ‘Brave’ being the Boys Noize production on the album. It’s so Kitsune Records meets Steve Aoki, but with that R&B diva sheen that only Kelis can provide. This track has so much remix potential; she may as well just start uploading the multi-tracks now.

With so much hype surrounding this record just for the production credits alone (David Guetta, Boys Noize, Ammo, Benny Benassi, etc.), it’s easy to be skeptical about just how good it is. Personally, the only disappointment for me was the exclusion of the Diplo produced ‘Alive’ and the Jean Baptiste helmed ‘Carefree American’. Really though, “Flesh Tone” won’t make a fan of everyone. If you’re not a fan of the deep realms of the subgenres of Electronic music, this won’t be for you. If you’re looking for a follow-up similar to ‘Bossy’, ‘Milkshake’, or even ‘Caught Out There’, you’ll find none of that here. What you will find is a newly divorced Kelis pulling a Grace Jones – she’s empowered, she’s confident, and she’s ready to take over. “Flesh Tone” is Kelis’ danceclub and she’s finally lowered the velvet rope for us . . . hopefully the past 535 words have convinced you to check out what’s inside.

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