- Audio CD (17 May 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Interscope
- ASIN: B003EELV20
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,933 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Flesh Tone CD
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Flesh Tone is the first album from "Milkshake" singer Kelis for nearly four years, and her fifth in total, following the success of the top 10, Grammy-nominated Kelis Was Here. The album sees Kelis worki with producers including will.i.am, Free School, Boys Noize, Burnz, DJ Ammo and Benny Benassi.
As Kevin Rowland knows, pulling off a whiplash change of musical direction can backfire on you. It can make you look like a sales-chasing dilettante, or worse. But Kelis, an RnB artist for more than 10 years, has made a dance album with such confidence and aplomb that it seems no more of a shock than a new hairstyle.
Flesh Tone credits house-man of the moment David Guetta as producer, and he brings the same vitality and sheen to it as he has to Madonna's work. Kelis has always been a strong character and a brave musician–this is what carries the album and assures your ears that it's no out-of-element flounder. It's arresting from the start, the hooks having immediate familiarity without directly pilfering. References leap exuberantly between decades–Moroder here, Justice there, some sweaty Ibiza melody filtering through.
Kelis's honey-husky voice slips easily into the hypnotic repetitions of dance music vocalisation; she uses the classic language of love songs and the soaring declarations of generalised euphoria particular to house music. The sense is that she's singing of her love for her child, this made explicit in Brave (the most Madonna-esque track here) and breezy closer Song for the Baby, but seeming more heartfelt in the astonishing centrepiece of Acapella. This is an absolute trampolining technicolour dancefloor monster, a model of songwriting precision but also the sound of pure joy, so happy it sounds like it's distorting its own fuzzed-up backing track with its bouncing. It's followed by Scream, a beat-free piano-based meditation giving way to Fedde-le-Grandian fist-pumping. Wow!
The album is surprisingly taut–nine tracks, most around four minutes long–incredibly disciplined for an RnB artist, unheard of for a dance act. There's an understanding of how dance music works and a willingness to rule-break–sometimes build-ups go nowhere and structures are discarded, but there's tremendous self-assurance in every swerve and extended breakdown. It only improves with further listens, the rich layering revealing itself and the hooks bedding in. It's a sensual and exhilarating album, and Kelis is a unique treasure. --Sarah Bee
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Expected this album to be a bit better and some more catchy tunes. Enjoyed a few of the songs but quite a few that I didn't.Published on 24 Oct. 2013 by Tango
one of the best albums kelis has ever made, it has a great production, excelent music and lyrics a must buy for any dance-electronic music fan! Read morePublished on 12 July 2013 by E. A. A. Mena