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4.3 out of 5 stars34
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 May 2010
One look at the sleeve design makes it clear that Kelis is not about to be turned into some kind of bland, generic dance artist. She risks a back cover shot which peels away her skin to reveal every sinew beneath and a centrefold in which she is presented Sphinx-like as half woman and half animal.

It's this sense of being slightly off-kilter that has always informed Kelis' work. 'Flesh Tone' sees her move firmly into an electro/house sound and yet she remains distinct - this feels genuinely inventive and fresh.

Lead single 'Acapella' still sounds stunning - the Donna Summer vibes competing with an almost atonal, throbbing backing that at first threatens to overwhelm it but eventually enables the track to take flight. Hugely uplifting and anthemic.

It must be said that the songwriting is at times a bit disappointing. The chorus of 'Emancipate', for example, features the phrase 'Emancipate Yourself' repeated sixteen times. There is also a lack of melody in some places, with the (albeit catchy) hooks covering up some occasionally dull tunes.

Yet the sheer joy of the surging basslines on tracks like 'Home', 'Brave' and '22nd Century' is undeniable. There is also some variety - first track 'Intro' is a lovely minor-chord piece of Euro synth pop. Final track 'Song For The Baby' is the most instantly appealing song on the album - lyrically similar to 'Acapella' (celebrating the love she has for her new baby) it also has a sweeter, Salsoul-era disco feel.

At only nine tracks long, this is an album that should be heard in full. With tracks segued into one another (not mixed, but musically linked together) it's a collection that takes Kelis into new, exciting musical territory.
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on 26 May 2010
I bought this after hearing the advert for the album on tv. I'm pretty sure they showed her singing Acapella. It sounded just like the kind of music I enjoy listening to on my iPod.
Pretty much like every single song. It reminds me a little of the early 90's Inner City stuff. Very dancy, very catchy - the kind of music you can lose yourself in.
Highly recommend.
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on 7 June 2010
structured in a similar layout to Madonna's Blockbuster Confessions On A Dance Floor album from 2005, Kelis' songs here are segued together to form something of a major force of an album, another similarity is the personal effectiveness of the creativity of the albums. Madonna's was all about the concept of an Electronica journey in which the listener participates in the album and the lyrics really pulled and seduced the audience into the story from Hung Up to the closing rhythms of Like It Or Not, Kelis does the same with the mesmerising beginning with the aptly named Intro and ensures you stay on board for the Flesh Tone ride through to Song For The Baby. the only difference is that Madonna's is a longer Summer Blockbuster of an album whereas Kelis' acts as a smaller Indie project (the album just cuts it at 37 minutes!) but my does it feel like an experience you want to repeat again,and again,and again.
kelis is by far an underrated performer, her total album and single sales clock in at just over 5 million copies shipped worldwide. her material is not created for commercial purposefulness but rather for the imagination of Kelis' mind and the creative purposefulness of her own. Kaleidescope,Tasty and Kelis Was Here reflect the different R&B and Soul inspired genres she has mastered and perfected, a more surreal approach to the redundant Hip Hop genre, a more visceral and creative project than most indeed, and by all mean more effective than anything by Beyonce or jay Z or even Kanye West...why?...because Kelis provides that personal appeal for her audience which they feel they can connect to without the artist needing to appeal to their level.
Will I Am took Kelis onboard his label and ensured that she collaborated with some of the best producers of House/Dance/electronica music in the industry of the moment(David guetta,Banny Bennasi et al.) and because of this the record is ballad free but definately speaks volumes to the listener of what each melody contains in the lyrics and are certainly as personal as any ballad that ever was.
this may be a sleeper hit of 2010, but despite being an overlooked and underrated artist Flesh Tone could be by far the greatest dance orientated album of the past few years, it's uptempo, it can be dark and always,always personal and punchy and often very anthemic.
a strong recommendation and a welcome return from The Queen Of Alternative R&B
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on 11 January 2013
I have never been a fan of Kelis. Of course I have heard both "Milkshake" and "Trick me". But that was it...until I listened to "Fleshtone". It took completely by surprise.
There are only 9 songs on the album, but any of them could be called "a filler". Looking through the list of composers I found names like: Benassi or David Guetta. They did a great job here.
I cannot avoid comparing this cd to "MDNA" by Madonna. Unfortunately, for the queen of pop, it seems that Kelis was first to find and use the talents of beforementioned dj's.
This time Madonna just followed.
Stand-out tracks? "Emancipate", "22-nd of july", "Home".
In one sentence: It's music for dance-freaks :)
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on 17 September 2010
It may come as a surprise to younger Dance music fans that in the 80s, African-American artists helped lay down the foundations of what has since became an almost exclusively European music genre. Before Black music was swallowed up by the RnB revolution, Hip Hop and House musicians experimented and developed new urban sounds and new tricks of getting people onto the dance floor that in the 90s and 2000s were pretty much abandoned in favour of Jamaican influenced dancehall and pop styles.

Over the last couple of years we've seen the beginnings of a new eagerness in the Black music scene for Dance music, with artists like Kelly Rowland and Beyonce working with DJs to create Dance versions of RnB tracks and pop acts like The Black Eyed Pease introducing Dance sounds into their music. In the UK, influential artists such as Dizzee Rascal and Wiley have written tracks specifically in the Dance genre, such as Bonkers and Wearing My Rolex.

Kelis' subversively titled album Flesh Tones marks the full return of black artists to the Dance genre. The sounds are still (tangentially) influenced by RnB, but most of the tracks are true Dance tracks with pop or RnB overtones, rather than RnB tracks done in a Dance style. This is a welcome innovation for both the Dance and RnB genres, which have become over-commercialised and detached from their early, more intense and harder sounds.

I'll leave the music itself to other reviewers, but will say that this album requires several listenings as the fusion sound is a bit jarring at first. The tracks often do things that are common in the RnB genre but not European Dance (or vise versa) and this can be disconcerting. However, as the tracks become more familiar you'll find yourself immersed in a musical style that has the uplifting qualities of good Dance combined with the sexiness of old-style House music. This is the album I've listened to most since Air's Talkie Walkie in 2004 and the Dance album I've enjoyed most since Prodigy's Fat of The Land back in 1997.

This album is the future of music for the next ten years, and is the first truly fresh sound I've heard in a long, long time.
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on 18 October 2010
This is a great high-energy record for working out or just for pleasure. Friends sent me a copy and I'm glad they did, as I would never have thought to buy it. I've just ordered for a friend now to help "pass it on".

I didn't know Kelis' music much before this, although I know she was not known for dance music. I realise this is a major change of direction but if you just listen to it as a record and try to judge it objectively, it's damn good music. I thought it would get put on a shelf after a partial listen, but it has been dominating my CD player for a couple weeks now. Dance music with a personal stamp. The lyrics are a reflection of her life journey, having a baby etc.

I am not sure what else to say, it's an addictive album and I cannot imagine why it hasn't sold tons of copies. I love it.
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on 23 May 2010
Short and simple..... First listen was awfull..... Second listen was good.... Third listen is still great!! On a serious note, I've been a great fan of Kelis since her first album. I didn't know where this album would meet me on a personal level due to her new dance sound but it has hit the spot sweetly! I think her independent vocal style has made the album to be honest. A dance tune can be repetative but Kelis has generated her own spark and sound on each of the tracks to make it not only catchy but unique! 5 stars for taking the balls to go in this different direction.... 4 stars for the album!!!
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on 30 October 2011
Despite being only 9 songs long, this album is a must buy. It is so underrated and flows perfectly from start to finish, the album failed commercially and I cannot understand why as I could listen to it all day long! Download 4th of July, 22nd Century and Brave.

Intro - 7/10
22nd Century - 10/10
4th of July - 10/10
Home - 8/10
Acapella - 9/10
Scream - 9/10
Emanicpate - 9/10
Brave - 10/10
Song for the Baby - 8/10
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on 25 June 2010
Wow!!! I have waited a long time to hear something this good, while other female pop singers are all going down a similar generic sink hole. Kelis, with the help of some inspired choices in song writers and producers have created one off the best dance albums in ages. Of course if Dance/Pop Music with female vocals is not for you then you probably shouldn't be reading this review but if it is then why do you not already own this album. In a world were we are saturated by Female Pop singers all trying to be each other or Lady Gaga Kelis has managed to do what most others have not, make Gaga look boring and make me want to dance all night long. The refreshing combination of Euro beats with her soulful vocals and beautiful lyrics makes for the most original and enjoyable album to get down to. As with all albums there is always a down side mine would be that it's to bloody short there only nine songs which run a total of 37 minutes, which can be over looked due to the fact that everyone is brilliant but it still left me wishing I could have stayed lost in her music for a few more minutes.

Overall Not since Róisín Murphy's 2008 album Overpowered have I enjoyed such an original, sexy, fun and just plain awesome musical experience!!!!
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2010
Kelis has been on the scene for quite a while now, so she could've been forgiven for letting asinine spread settle in, but no she hasn't!

While the only failing of this album is that it's short (so, not really a failing), from start to finish it's an enjoyable ride slightly arted up by a number of segues that serve as introductions to successive songs.
First single Acapella is going to be one of those albums you'll find on a greatest hits album, if she ever releases one. Yes, it sounds a bit Donna Summer-y, but it's a fantastic stomping song with depth. The song after this called Scream deserves to be a single with verses and choruses that bleed from laid back to "strutting".

There are a couple of songs that I could take or leave, but as a whole it all blends well. Kelis's voice sounds good (and I like how she doesn't contort into a cow to aim for show-y off high notes) and the production is slick without being over done.
This is probably my favourite pop/edgy R&B album of the year, and long may Kelis reign as a diamond on the scene.
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