pre-order on iTunes now) is a combination of 60s/70s soul, 80s neo-funk and....well.....Kelis. Written mostly by Kelis, Dave Sitek, of TV on the Radio, and Todd Simon, the album is like sitting in a music lounge in Harlem and having your mind blown by the sexy lady on stage. Lady sings the blues, y'all! Kelis has described the album as "an unspoken kind of lovefest" but I have no idea what that means. If it means that it's fucking awesome, then I agree. I mean, the cover photo alone is worth the price of the album, but there's SOOOOOOO much more going on here. Kelis' has moved from her last album of club anthems very comfortably into the role of soul sister and it seems a very appropriate fit.
Jerk Rib is an ultra funky ode to her musical roots. Horns and bass take us to Harlem and lay down a soulful path where Kelis remembers her dad writing and playing music and telling her to "look for melody in everything". Good advice, great song. Breakfast rolls with drums and love move this tune along. Singing about finding the right man and getting it on lock, Kelis' voice is soft and smooth as she welcomes us to "the real world" with the tease "maybe we'll make it to breakfast". Sexy. Forever Be reminds me of the musical Hair, which a great thing. It has a 60s flower child feel. It's sexy, sure, but also hopeful and happy. There's a pulsing undertone that gets your ass shaking. Floyd finds Kelis sounding like Prince in the late 70s, early 80s, serving pure neo-soul on this ditty. Floyd is a sexy come-on that glides along on horns and beats like a girl flirting with you on the street. The refrain "I want to be blown away" repeats over and over as the dreamy, breathy voices accompanying it drift through the background. Beautiful. Runner is running away from fame and troubles. Kelis sings about her the person who is there to save her on this moody, psychedelic track that lets K's voice stand out and emote her loneliness over a dramatic accompaniment. Aquarius is a natural comparison to Hooch. Blasts of trumpets cut through the sighs and moans as the sassy track builds. I swear you feel like you are in the 70s listening to Hooch. Barry White, eat your heart out. Kelis has full command of soul here. A Latin inspired groove drives Cobbler onto the dance floor. An aggressive, sensual flirt that is reminiscent of Milkshake, one of Kelis' signature tunes. Bless the Telephone switches gears a bit to deliver a simple, guitar track that would make James Taylor swoon. Written by British poet, singer/songwriter Labi Siffre and from his 1971 album The Singer and The Song (which explains the folky sound), Bless the Telephone is all about how good it is sometimes just to hear the voice of someone you miss. Friday Fish Fry is back to the soul, this time with some southern grit to it. Kelis is in a full sweat as she lets her inhibitions go and takes control of every man in sight. A real barn-burner and an album highlight for sure, Friday Fish Fry needs a video STAT with lots of guitars and tambourines! Change sounds like a 60s rally song, with deep male background voices and a quite build that eventually busts out like pure freedom. It's actually about a jerk who keeps screwing our girl over. It's dark and powerful and Kelis' gives a great vocal on it. Rumble is the second single released from FOOD before it's official release and it's a spectacular soul song. Laying down the law and telling her man not to go, Kelis' croons with confidence on this, possibly the best song on FOOD. Rumble is electric and an instant classic. Biscuits 'n' Gravy starts with a simple piano riff and some deep shit going on in the lyrics. A very personal song that bursts into a crescendo at the end that is quite a powerful payoff. Dreamer closes out the album with soft vocals, piano and strings drifting off into the clouds. Quite beautiful and a very different sound for Kelis and certainly the most ballad-like of all the songs on FOOD. Dreamer is the softer-side of Kelis. I would say FOOD is the album to beat in 2014, and it's going to be an uphill battle for everyone else. Enjoy the video for first single Jerk Ribs below.