Kelis – Milkshake (Virgin, 2003)
This review originally appeared as part of The Stylus Decade, January 2010.
At a time when mainstream pop was becoming ever more hyper-sexualised—a journey which took us from the transgressive highs of Britney’s “I’m A Slave 4 U” to the reductionist shallows of Christina’s “Dirrty”—the obliquely suggestive riddle of “Milkshake” came as a welcome counterpoint. As we puzzled over its definition, our imaginations doing the dirty work on her behalf, Kelis offered no further clues. Artfully offhand, like some sort of sphinx of the schoolyard, she spun her teases and taunts over a lean, lithe arrangement: lurching, buzzing bass in the foreground, sparse acoustic slashes in the background, pattering beats, the occasional bell chime (“Time’s up—next!”), and not a fat lot else.