Brought to stardom by legendary production team the Neptunes, R&B singer-songwriter Kelis Rogers is back with Tasty, her third and most elaborate album to date. Considering the myriad producers on board – including, but not limited to, Andre 3000, Dallas Austin, Rockwilder and Raphael Saadiq – the record has the potential to fall somewhere between an “engaging spectacle” and a “too-many-cooks disaster.” In the end, her 14 tracks manage to spatter all along that spectrum with little left to properly enjoy.
Of the album’s high-profile singles, few are truly intriguing. Though the Neptunes-penned “Protect My Heart” is catchy and works its synth-horns well, selections like “Milkshake” and “Trick Me” are, upon close examination, nothing to write home about and made up mostly of awkward sexual overtures. While one can easily tune out the occasional banal verse, here they show up quite frequently and sometimes in seemingly endless barrages, as noted in the dreadful Nas collaboration “In Public.”
While there’s nothing wrong with a performer working their own angle, Kelis’ raging coquette persona only causes the listener to cringe in embarrassment for her. As the title suggests, much of Tasty employs the shamefully tired cliche of food as a double entendre. This is a bit of a pity, as the beats and synthesizer tracks are solid and had something more inspired laid on top of them (vocals or otherwise), the end product could have really been something clever.
Tasty showcases Kelis’ fine voice and the fact that she has more than enough personnel employed to crank out fun music, but it’s far from a fulfilling experience.
[Colin Marshall often wonders if R&B’s heyday will ever return. Then he gets depressed and thinks about something else, quick.]