Kelis Food

Kelis Food
8
Food is musically delicious, sonically nutritious. The woman known as Kelis can rightly be termed a veteran in this game, with her debut album, Kaleidoscope appearing way back in 1999. She's typically been hard to define musically, and Food further confuses the issue with a live band-oriented edge as helmed by producer Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio fame. With titles like "Jerk Ribs," "Friday Fish Fry," "Biscuits n' Gravy" and "Cobbler," food themes dominate Food and reveal her passion as a recently certified chef.

But Food is also about her maturing as a person and artist and the self-awareness that entails. "Breakfast" features young son Knight on vocals and Kelis riding an '80s style boom-bap vibe, while "Jerk Ribs" is a fearlessly funky and Afrobeat horn-inflected number. With lyrics like "It's not that I'm ungrateful/ I'm just a little bored/ Sure I'm self-sufficient, blah, blah, independent/ Truthfully I got some space/ I want that man to fill it" on the unique sounding "Floyd," one fully grasps where her head and soul are at that this point in time. The acoustic Labi Siffre cover of "Bless the Telephone" is charming, the sultry "Runnin'" is perhaps the second best track on the project, while tracks like "Biscuits n' Gravy" and "Hooch" push her husky voice to its range limits. "Rumble" rides a fine line but "Change" and "Dreamer" are a bit too ruthless, overstretching a bit; they could have been cut from the album with no one missing them. But as a whole, Food is a delight and represents adventurous R&B with bite.

Read our May 2014 cover story on Kelis here. (Ninja Tune)