Kelis Was Here
Kelis Was Here has gone through three changes of release date and a change of name which must have been frustrating to the extensive fan base she has amassed here in the U.S., and particularly overseas. It took me a couple of listens to really understand where this international superstar was going with her third project, and I am still a little unsure if I do get what she was trying to achieve with this over abundance of music.
Kelis has always been a performer that will go all out to maintain a position way beyond the generic plateaus of other songstresses. Since she stomped through streets screaming "I hate you so much right now," and gave "milkshake" a whole other meaning, Mrs. Jones has remained in a lane of her own and there has never been anyone to step up and give her cause for concern. However, on this album it appears that she feels she has to prove something.
Kelis Was Here has no Neptunes input whatsoever, and maybe that factor was the reason the songstress felt she had to exemplify her ability. With no Pharrell or Chad to offer support and guidance and bless her with top notch production, the pressure was on to ensure people saw her in her own limelight. Keeping herself one step ahead of the rest with tracks like the Nas-assisted "Blindfold Me" and the lead-off single featuring Too $hort ("Bossy"), both tracks are the type that Kelis has become famed for - but these are not necessarily the strongest on the album.
With a serious 80's sound running through the project, Kelis allows us to appreciate just how soulful and what her voice can achieve on the more down tempo songs. Songs like "Living Proof," "Goodbyes," "Till the Wheels Fall Off" and "Lil Star" featuring Cee-Lo are the ones that stand out in showcasing her vocal range. On "I don't Think So," Kelis takes you back to the days of Joan Jett with the rock-infused beat and chanting, which she definitely did her thing on and is the hottest joint on the album.
There are, however, two songs on the album which serve no purpose - one being the Will.I.Am collaboration, which sounds like a Black Eyed Peas reject beat. Kelis has her own style, delivery and presence already established after her tenure in music, so she definitely doesn't need to play 'dress up' as Fergie from the BEP, which is how she comes off sounding.
The other track that I banged my head on my desk over is the longest on the album, "Have a Nice Day," which lasts over five minutes. I was looking forward to hearing this, but when I played it I was disappointed as the song just failed to fit in - and even though it reminded me of family holidays in Spain and Portugal, it just didn't flow with the rest of the album. "Fuck Them Bitches" is obviously her little rant at the haters which all females seem to have to address in some way or form through their craft right now - another track that you will either love or hate.
Overall, this album isn't bad. Perhaps the track listing could have been worked on a bit more, a few songs changed about, and the production is not so elaborate as Kelis adds her own twist to anything she jumps on, regardless of the beat.