02 July 2010
Following a four-year hiatus from the industry, American r'n'b star Kelis is back with her fifth studio album Flesh Tone. Kelis has done a huge turnaround since Milkshake, exploring soul, hip hop and electronica - but she is now reinventing herself almost exclusively as a dance music artist.
The first track on the album, the suitably titled Intro, comes across as a futuristic attempt at nu-rave but instead takes us back to the ‘80s with synths galore (it’s as if someone left the ‘demo’ button on). However, this is not to discredit the album. Flesh Tone may boast a meagre nine songs, but with each track as energised as the last the transitions go unnoticed, providing interesting wind ups that keep you guessing.
Dance tracks 4th Of July and Scream (produced by David Guetta) must be praised for their hit single potential; the high-energy melodies are definite floor fillers. The only criticism is the intricacy of 22nd Century and Acapella, these tracks could easily be skipped because the complex melodies make for an intermittent, confusing sound.
Flesh Tone sees Kelis showcase some spoken word but the biggest surprise from this r'n'b / dance diva is the electro layering, a constant throughout the entire record. Kelis channels some of the beauty from the ‘80s that has been missed of late, graciously excluding the formulaic ballad that comes with most records from that era.
Conversely, Flesh Tone has you cringing at some of the lyrics, with some seemingly present for no other reason than because they rhyme with the previous line. The dated synth lines also beg the question: did Kelis purposely record a disco album or was it a nu-rave effort gone abysmally wrong?
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