[16] Kelis, ‘Milkshake’


So what are you gonna do? Your debut album unleashes a fiery hip-hop-soul Fury on the world, underpinned by peerless Neptune beats and no-filler songwriting, but the follow-up plops onto the tiles like a wet flannel. What are you gonna do? RELEASE THE SEX, that’s what. A dramatic u-turn on the road to the dumper, ‘Milkshake’ is dirty in some vague way, bumping, grinding and worming its way into your aural cavity. That’s “aural”. It’s a primitive record, sparse and jerky in its tribal rhythms, but it was a surefire sign Kelis was back in business – and with third album Tasty glorying in a shot of her slurping a lollipop, the raunchy recovery was complete.

It’s a little bit ripe to play to a callow reviewer, but we’re banking on Junior missing nuance at this age. She wiggled her shoulders like a girl who’s seen one too many must-we-feed-our-kids-this-FILTH? pop videos on MTV and appeared to like the song. So did she? “No.” I’m beginning to spot a pattern.

Better than yours:

[20] Kelis, ‘Young, Fresh n’ New’

And she was too, but already the dread hand of age, staleness and obsolescence (don’t pretend you haven’t felt its clammy touch) was reaching out for her. Kelis was hamstrung from the start – you try following the wondrous space-hop of 1999’s Kaleidoscope without sounding as if you’re flailing at former glories. The Neptunes made their name there, and they’re all over Wanderland (which this single fanfared) too, but even the brassy sci-fi blare of ‘Young Fresh n’ New’ cannot hide the slow fade. This cut is immediate, bold and proud. Even so, it leaves the slightest of traces and scrapes the 20 here, mainly cos respec’ iz due.

In devastating parallel, Junior wigs out arms akimbo to the first few synth blasts before stopping just as suddenly, forgetting all about Kelis’s howl of youthful anguish, and heading back to her remastered Shreddies. They have fruit stuffed in them and she thinks they’re sausage rolls. I’d imagine they leave a more lingering taste than this record, no matter how much fun it is for just that little while, or how much soul Kelis tries to squeeze in.

Of course, she came back hard with ‘Milkshake’. Everyone loves a bit of smut.