On her sixth album “Food,” Kelis pleases our music-buds with some tasty tunes served on a R&B platter, the 13 dishes served with some Afro-beat, funk, gospel and Memphis soul flavors, with a sprinkling of jazzy horns and a dollop of electro-pop. Her husky, weathered voice is well-suited with this material. Kelis's four year old son Knight Jones opens the album with the lines: "Hey guys! Are you hungry? My mom made food!" Here’s what’s on the menu:
First dish served is “Breakfast,” a gospel-ish track filled with bass, horns and whistles. Next on the menu is “Jerk Ribs.” This funky track has a real ‘60s/70s soul-vibe, and as she sings “This is what it looks like” the horns provide the necessary big band feel. The soulful piano-ballad “Forever Be” with a sprinkling of synth, is the straightest pop-song on the album, another track infused with bass, horns and strings. This is followed by the slow jam of the seductive blues-ballad “Floyd” as she sings: “I want to be blown away, Blow me away.”
Kelis turns up the heat with the sultry, mid-tempo ballad “Runnin’.” Next song, and probably the funkiest track on this album, is the horn-filled funk anthem "Hooch," one that is perfectly suited to Kelis’s husky voice. This is followed by the up-tempo “Cobbler,” another funky, dance-floor ready track with a strong James Brown-vibe (great song, although I disliked the high notes near the end). There is also one cover on this album, an acoustic version of Labi Siffre’s 1971 song “Bless The Telephone,” a duet with Sal Masekela that has a folksy, almost Simon and Garfunkel-ish vibe.
She goes for sexy and sultry again with the funky “Fish Fry” as she begs “Give me what I want, Give me what I need,” pines for "That tall drink of water I notice in the corner" and sings: “I need ice cold water” (love the bar-room call-and-response “She needs ice cold water” part in this track). Next up is the powerful, funky Afro beat of “Change,” which starts slow but builds towards an emotional power-house vocal performance, followed by the soulful “Rumble” and the gospel-ish, piano-driven ballad “Biscuits ‘n’ Gravy.” The slow, string-laced ballad “Dreamer” closes the album.
Kelis reinvents herself time and again. Each new album is different from the preceding one, just like “Food,” which is a huge departure from 2010's electronic dance album "Flesh Tone." So if you’re looking for the same type of electro-pop, it might not be to your musical taste. But that said, this album is a very palatable dish, hence the five “Michelin” stars for the “Food” that gourmet chef Kelis has served. Gotten hungry? Order “Food!"