On the one hand, there is Kelis Rogers, who first came to prominence singing the hook of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s 1999 hit ‘Got Your Money’. This was the visually and sonically compelling 20 year-old whose debut album ‘Kaleidoscope’ helped usher in the wave of sharp, thrillingly futuristic R&B that dominated the charts in the early Noughties, as exemplified by her global hit, ‘Milkshake’.
On the other there is Dave Sitek, guitarist in acclaimed Brooklyn experimentalists TV On The Radio and producer to a certain kind of smart, indie band (the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals and Liars to name a few).
'Food' is a startling combination of Kelis’ most frank and vulnerable vocals to date, and Sitek's inimitable sonic imprint. Littered with transcendent, Spector-esque lift, warm bottom ends and vast depth, the music is the perfect backdrop for Kelis’ unique voice. The latter has only improved with time and experience, and the album candidly explores pain, happiness and everything in between.
Recorded at Sitek’s house in LA (and entirely produced by him), Kelis’ new album, 'Food,' mints a sound that’s rootsy without ever being self-consciously retro, that pitches live horns and gospel organ against electronics, that for all its classic soul and funk influences, couldn’t have been made any time but now.
As indicated by the title, and indeed the tracks ‘Jerk Ribs’, ‘Friday Fish Fry’, ‘Biscuits N’ Gravy’ and ‘Cobbler’, food has quite a large role to play in this, Kelis’ sixth album, and indeed her life. Having taken a cordon bleu course in 2008, she is now a qualified chef.
Kelis has never shied away from pushing at the boundaries of the public’s perception of her. She is probably the only artist in history to take a David Guetta pop-rave track and turn it into a paen to the joys of new motherhood as with ‘Acappella’, a song about the birth of her son Knight. This time, the results aren’t just unexpected, but highly personal.
With two Grammy nominations, Platinum and Gold records, BRIT, Q and NME Awards and dozens of top 10 singles to her name, Kelis has collaborated with the likes of Björk, Raphael Saadiq, Moby, Outkast, P Diddy and Skream to name but a few. Her recent collaboration with Calvin Harris, ‘Bounce,’ went straight into the top 10, and when she posted new track ‘Jerk Ribs’ without warning a few short months ago, she set the blogs alight.
Kelis describes her sixth album as “a kind of unspoken lovefest”, albeit one involving two unlikely partners. On the one
hand, there is Kelis Rogers, who first came to prominence singing the hook of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s 1999 hit Got Your Money; whose debut album Kaleidoscope helped usher in the wave of sharp, thrillingly futuristic r’n’b that dominated the charts in the early Noughties....more