Bite-sized Album Review #20: Kelis’s ‘Tasty’

Fresh off of another bike ride! I have actively started to crave going on bike rides now lol. My body is like “please go find somewhere to escape,” and after seeing Mike Pence have that fly on his head for 10 minutes during the debate yesterday, escapism was exactly what I needed. 7 miles (of biking and walking) and a full listen to Flower Boy (2017) and IGOR (2019) later, I’m feeling good, sitting in the living room at home with People’s Court in the background (lol) ready to talk about Miss Kelis Rogers (who I’ve decided to stan) and her third solo album, Tasty (2003), as a part of my continued quest to listen to Kelis’s entire discography. You can read my full review of Wanderland (2001) here and a shorter review of Kaleidoscope (1999) here.

Thematic Cohesion

I don’t think that Tasty is too much different from Wanderland and Kaleidoscope as far as theme is concerned. The project has love songs, songs about fame and the price of having everything, songs about sex, etc. So, for an R&B project, I feel like the theme is pretty solid. I’m not a big fan of intro skits, but I did like (on first listen) the inclusion of the skit at the beginning and the little bit at the end of “Marathon,” where Kelis is asking someone to try her…umm…treats! That, along with “Milkshake” brought the whole Tasty theme together. Ooh, I also LOVE LOVE LOVEEEEE the cover of this project. Her makeup looks so good!

Sonic Cohesion

I think this is where Tasty has the biggest upperhand, compared to her first two projects. From what I’ve read about how her first two projects were received, some of the grief that Kelis got was based around how sporadic Wanderland and Kaleidoscope sound. And after hearing Tasty, I definitely agree. It’s not a sporadic that offends me, but as far as mainstream success goes (especially for an R&B project at that time), I can see how jumping from “Popular Thug” to “Mr. U.F.O. Man” to “Perfect Day” could be a little much, if you’re expecting straight R&B. It feels like if she would have just went straight “Perfect Day” and made Wanderland an alternative project, it would have felt more put together. I don’t know if it would have necessarily been more of a success, though. I also think that the first two projects feel a little indistinct from Pharrell and Chad’s Neptunes tracks and tracks with N.E.R.D.

While Tasty does have some Neptunes production and there’s a general sound that’s reminiscent of Pharrell and Chad’s work, it feels like Kelis’s project instead of a Neptunes project with Kelis’s vocals. There are still some slightly alternative/untraditional R&B songs and sounds on here on tracks like “Millionaire” and “Keep it Down Part II,” but overall, it’s very much an R&B project. And I think Kelis benefitted from working with other people. I read somewhere that she took her opportunity to work with people (instead of leaving the production solely up to Pharrell and Chad) as a chance to challenge herself; people didn’t think she could do be successful without them, so she wanted to prove them wrong. And while they’re still there, Kelis is the star of Tasty, and she proved she’s talented in her own right.

Vibe Check

This project is so groovy and funky!!! My shoulders were GROOVING; my head was MOVING. HERE FOR IT.

Replay Value

This is the first project in a WHILEEEE for one of these that I have saved the majority of to my library. I have everything except the first and last tracks saved (because there’s a little bit of skit at the end of “Marathon” lol); I also don’t have the song she did with Nas saved (also haven’t listened to it) because something in me felt weird about giving attention to that song, when Kelis has mentioned that she had a very difficult and abusive relationship with him. With every listen to the songs I saved, I like Tasty more and more. I think Wanderland will still hold a big place in my heart because it was my first Kelis project, and I love what she and the Neptunes did together on there, but Tasty is definitely my favorite Kelis album so far.

3 songs i dig…

“Protect My Heart” “Millionaire” and “Trick Me”

Featured Image Credit:

Overall Album Rating

(listen to Tasty on spotify, by clicking on the image below)

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