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Rare are the times when a promising musician has the chance to escape from wonderland and throw a punch in the direction of the ever-fickle U.S. music industry--and earn a huge hit.

This is exactly what Kelis did late last year with the release of her hyper-infectious single "Milkshake," finally earning the success that was never achieved from "Caught Out There" four years prior, a track famed for its juxtaposition of sweetly-sung verses with a rage-filled rant of a chorus line (I hate you so much right now!). Kelis's spastic 1999 debut Kaleidoscope was a hit to U.K. fans, earning the singer the British Trophy for Best International Newcomer, as well as the Q statue for Best R&B Singer.

In 2001, Kelis released Wanderland, which features a couple of U.S. populars (No Doubt and Fieldy of Korn), despite the album's exclusive release in Europe and Asia. With her latest release appropriately titled Tasty, Kelis is back in the U.S., thanks to her "Milkshake," and the help of It-producers Chad Hugo and Pharell Williams of The Neptunes.

Kelis steps up as executive producer, selecting all the right producers to support her ambiguous flavor, along with co-writing six of Tasty's thirteen tracks, serving up a usually palatable disc. "In Pubic", however, is a slow tempo sexcapade glorifying a dissatisfying musical menage a trois between Kelis, her fiance Nas, and producer Rockwilder.

Raphael Saadiq produces and sings on "Glow", Tasty's purest R&B track, blending in a sitar and a piano for flavor. Andre 3000 steps in to produce, sing, and rhyme on "Millionaire," a mega-syncopated mess of beautifully orchestrated drums and keyboards, creating Tasty's finest offering.

The album's tone darkens with closing tracks "Rolling Through the Hood," "Stick Up" and "Marathon," a necessary shift to reveal the complexity of Kelis. Tasty proves that there's more to her than just a milkshake.

Crystal at 11/24/2004 01:57:00 PM

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