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Review: Food, by Kelis and other culinary plans for 2014

Food, by Kelis

Rating:
Star5
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Most individuals probably do not know (or remember) Kelis and her ongoing musical career. Surely, "Milkshake" still makes it into social consciousness via shows like Family Guy, The Simpsons, Ugly Betty and 2 Broke Girls. Yet many missed the incarnations which came after. In fact, Kelis' first studio album came in 1999. That is fifteen years ago.

By Kelis
By Kelis
Ninja Tune Records

Kelis is now signed to an independent label based in the UK; Ninja Tune.

Food, the newest album, is an extension of her personal life which somehow skipped 2010's release, Flesh Tone. Kelis trained as a part-time saucier in 2007 and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. In 2006 she published a cookbook and designed her own line of fashion accessories called Cake.

(Watch the music video for "4th of July".)

If this does not explain the title of the album and its tracks, then this should. Last year she premiered her own line of sauces called Feast. Earlier this year, during the South by SouthWest Festival in Austin, Texas, Kelis brought a food cart to promote the album and gave free meals of her own creations. To complete the cycle of food-relations, there will be a cooking show for the Cooking Channel.

Kelis is currently promoting the album in the UK. The album is released in the US on April 22nd. A tour is likely to follow her stint with Robyn in 2010 on the All Heart Tour.

New artist release: Ryan Lill, Vanessa Carlton, The Sounds, Austra, Angel Haze, Zebra Katz, The Irrepressibles, Eric Himan & Ani DiFranco.

Read about Food's tracks:

Jerk Ribs: The official first music video release off the album showcases Kelis being photographed and recording a music video in Latin America. This upbeat track is more dance than "Rumble" but just as earthy. The instrumentals, heavy with trumpets and timbales, cement this project as a musical body of work (as opposed, let us say, a vapid dance record).

Breakfast: The child's introduction and acapella vocals make this intimate and unique. The lyrics are an ode of appreciation to a partner, a friend. The vocals, raw, raspy and present, emote beautifully. Unsurprisingly, the instrumentals are air-instrument heavy.

Forever Be: The vocals take precedent as the busy instrumentals remain an addition to the sultry and emphatic pronunciation and tonality.

Floyd: This slow track is the first rupture in the overall rhythm of the album. This blues track is nice and the bravado works extremely well with Kelis' voice. The instrumental outro, with gorgeous strings, is phenomenal.

Runner: Percussion-heavy and keeping the pace from "Floyd". 'I Became a runner, but I am not afraid.' The lyrical matter is melancholic to boot, as Kelis questions being a runner and what that system of emotional protection can do to a person.

Hooch: The speed picks up here with a plethora of trumpets. The breaks between verses are enchanting.

Cobbler: The beats here become more percussion driven (during the introduction) and Afro-Caribbean. Fun whistle-register falsettos abound.

Bless the Telephone: This is a cover of Labi Siffre, the British artist. This is guitar-driven. The track is sensitive and soothing. The harmonizing vocals work very well together. 'Strange, how a phone call can change your day. Take you away from the feeling of being alone. Bless the telephone'.

Friday Fish Fry: There is a rock-element to the delivery of this track. Kelis' 'down on my knees' vocalization is seductive and grungy all at once.

Change: This track returns to an indigenous place. The chanting background vocals are strong and transcendent. The chorus is epic and extraordinary. This is truly a standout track.

Rumble: The official second single release is all about the fine line between love and hate, says Kelis. 'I am so glad you gave me back my keys' balances the 'foot out the door, but please do not go' feeling of wanting to be with someone, but questioning it at the same time. Kelis says that the song is about being an adult and hopefully mature. Unlike being young and feeling the need to be with someone, it is about wanting to be with someone.

The instrument-heavy single is made for live performances. The trumpets are dreamy and give it a jazz vibe.

Biscuits and Gravy: Here, a piano makes an appearance. The instrumentation grows and extends the album's musical intentions.

Dreamer: This track is, well, dreamy. Slow and relaxing, this is the perfect atmospheric ending to such a lively musical ride.

Other reviews:

Films: Kumu Hina : Southern Baptist Sissies : OFIR (documentary) : Ne Te Retourne Pas (short) : Halina (short) : EK (short) : Despite The Gods (documentary) : Materica (short) : Lawrence and Hollowman, the movie : No Strangers (documentary) : Meth Head, the movie : Echoes (short) : Titans of Newark (short) : A Cure (short) : Precious, the movie : This Is It (documentary)

Music: The Sounds' Weekend : Austra's Olympia : KENN's We Killed KENN : VV Brown's Samson & Delilah : Sammy Crawford's Reality Sets In : Melanie C's Stages : Madonna's MDNA : Nelly Furtado's Spirit Indestructible : CocoRosie's "We Are On Fire" : Stephan Nance's A Troubled Piece of Fruit

Videos: Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" : Lily Allen's "Hard Out Here" : Tom Goss' "It's All Over" : Eric Himan's "Dust" : Scissor Sisters' "Only The Horses"

Concerts: Ellie Goulding : The Sounds with Blondfire & Strange Talk : Natasha Bedingfield : Andy Grammer : Kate Voegele

Stand Up: Kevin J Thornton