19. KELIS “Flesh Tone”
I have this theory that Kelis generally releases a truly great album every second go. 1999′s “Kaleidoscope” remains one of the freshest-sounding debuts to come from popular RNB music, whereas the follow-up “Wanderland” – although generally great – has its glaring rough-patches. 2003′s “Tasty” was sublime from beginning to end, whilst 2006′s “Kelis Was Here” felt stale and, more often than not, a little forced. Who knew that in 2010, Kelis would find solace after her very public marriage break-up in the pounding basslines of techno and electro-house.
For “Flesh Tone”, that’s exactly what she did. Clocking in at just under 38 minutes in length, this 9 track gust of pop perfection is the sound of proper evolution. You know you’re in for a treat when a track titled “Intro” grabs you from the second it begins (making it the second greatest track titled “Intro” in history – the first still belonging to Girls Aloud), with its seductively psychotic bassline that rides through at the slowest tempo you’ll hear on the whole album. Things pick up to a lighting speed from then on but make no mistake; “Intro” is a truly innovative moment in pop for 2010 and a proper album highlight.
Working with Burns, Boys Noize, Benny Benassi and Tocadisco, Kelis shines as a dancefloor diva as she sings about defying the odds, her marriage break-up (see “Brave”, one of the most emotionally triumphant dance floor songs you’ll hear), the birth of her Son (the bonza “Home”, ice-cool single “Acapella” and the equally-bonza “Song for the Baby”, the latter coming complete with a piano-riff lifted right out of the early 1990′s house movement), and a statement that the sound of her album is the sound of the future, with the thrilling “22nd Century.”
One swift listen to Flesh Tone will assure you Kelis does being an electro-dance goddess just as effortlessly as she has in the past being an Urban one.
“Flesh Tone” may continue the album pattern theory I spoke of earlier, but it more than likely seems that particular ‘curse’ has been brought to an end.