Written by Asia Martin
Kelis has been known to the world as a bo$$y, punk-hop princess with an eclectic aura whose milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. Those things may hold true, but this new album illustrates a side to Kelis that pop-culture needs to hear. Another Queen has arrived on the music industry scene and she’s a chef with a line of sauces and a cooking show premiering sometime this year. This new venture may have inspired the title of her sixth album Food.
After years of battling her former record label to release her, Kelis is headed in a different direction that seems to fit her well. She is now with Ninja Tune and Food is entirely produced by Dave Sitek, guitarist of TV On The Radio who has produced the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals and Liars.
Here are Food’s 13 tracks of delicious nostalgia:
1. Breakfast: “Hey guys are you hungry, my mom made food!” comes from a pint-sized voice, most-likely her 4-year-old son. This track is a great and uplifting introduction. It is upbeat and hearty morning salute to the album’s day.
2. Jerk Ribs: My favorite track that is reminiscent of the 70’s with Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man.” The track includes soulful crooning and roaring horns.
3. Forever Be: A whimsical love ballad for the lovers. The light and bold melody provides a nice backdrop to Kelis’ raspy vocals.
4. Floyd: A seductive and mature plea for a lover “I want to be blown away.” Clear instrumentals: flute, horns. Groovy.
5. Runnin’: Very relaxed vocals on top of a fast beat and an opaque atmosphere. Kelis gets adds a serious depth to the album about running away from the things that come with being a popular artist.
6. Hooch: A rugged and posh track with low vocals. The horns and tambourine aid the retro melody.
7. Cobbler: This track is fun and a cute melody for being caught up in your lover. It has a Chaka Khan influence that sounds similar to “Do You Love What You Feel.” This gives that same energy and funk and good-feeling.
8. Bless the Telephone: A duet about the simple warmth that a phone call from a loved one can bring. “Strange how a phone call can change a day. Take you away, away from the feeling of being along. Bless the telephone.” It features killer guest vocals from Sal Masekela. It is acoustic and folk-like.
9. Friday Fish Fry: Country Western influence. A fun yet odd feature on this album that has Kelis begging please for someone to give her what she wants and what she needs.
10. Change: A dark track that accounts when love hurts: “your love stung like a bee, keep that stuff away from me.” The background incorporates a baritone chorus with island and Mediterranean beats.
11. Rumble: This is in up-tempo, post-break-up song for when you finally stop crying. The song is a play off the “memory lapse” that occurs between former lovers.
12. Biscuits and Gravy: Slow-paced rhythm with blazing horns, soft drums and a soft organ painting the picture of the end of one day bringing forth a new sunrise.
13. Dreamer: A slow song for your frolicking daydreams and trips that is inspiring and freeing. This track is the wild card where Kelis ends your journey with her with this: “If it was all up to me we’d be all naked climbing trees.”
Food is fun, magical in its own right, and very much an unexpected yet so-Kelis style of work. It is not a #TURNUP album, thank God! Every food-themed titles set the stage for the story’s rhythm and the lyrics are common thoughts that come with love, regret, lust, gratitude, happiness, and anger. Every track produced is a perfect match for how her voice comes across in different ranges. The pairing of producer Sitek and Kelis is beautiful. This is a classic album that uses strong horns and a piano organ to compliment a sultry voice and bring back retro sounds.
Kelis’ newest artwork is a theatrical performance, it’s like you are listening to the soundtrack of a soulful and funky musical. The album starts off fresh and transitions into different seasons of cool.