09 February 2011
Review: Kelis - Flesh Tone
Reviewing this album confused me.
On one hand it's as light & fluffy as chewing clouds, while on the other hand it almost seems there's something a little darker going on just beneath the surface.
Strictly speaking I should strongly dislike, if not hate this album.
It's essentially euphoric dance pop music, blending electropop, synthpop & house music. Production is by David Guetta, Boys Noize, Jean Baptiste & Benny Benassi, among others. It's released on Will.I.Am's label. While it may be a radical departure from Kelis' previous R&B-styled albums, Flesh Tone breaks no new ground & she does nothing we've not heard from others before.
However, I don't strongly dislike this album & I certainly do not hate it. I'm still not sure I like it, necessarily either. Here are three reasons why I'm struggling to get a true handle on my feelings about this album.
Firstly, despite brimming with sleek dance pop, the album flows as a listening experience incredibly well - something which can seldom be said these days, as most albums are really just collections of radio singles - while also playing host to a handful of potential major club anthems. Of particular note is the lead single Acapella & forthcoming single Scream, both of which incidentally, are produced by cheesy house maestro du jour David Guetta.
Secondly, Kelis sounds good. Really good. Full-tilt house diva mode clearly suits her. As does Motherhood. She has been quoted as saying that Flesh Tone is an uplifting album which celebrates the birth of her first child, so while she's obviously in good spirits, the Giorgio Moroder-era Donna Summer v modern Euro club pop sound is also an apt fit.
Thirdly, even though there's not one single fresh idea present on Flesh Tone, only one track really outstays its' welcome (the mindlessly repetitive Emancipate) & in all, the album's nine tracks barely scratch the 38min mark, strangely leaving me quite happy to listen again.
I admire any artist willing to change up their sound from album to album, and Flesh Tone is nothing if not a departure from her previous work. It's even highly enjoyable, in places, kinda like candy floss.
Hmmm... when was the last time you ate candy floss & felt good about it afterwards...?
In A Nutshell: candy-coated sleek club pop which is a non-fattening guilty pleasure
90's Rating: SIX glittering disco balls OUT OF TEN
The Radio Ponsonby Record Review airs on Murry Sweetpants' Breakfast Show every Wenerei morning at around 8.30am. Big thanks to Longroom.