Kelis’s 20 biggest songs – ranked!


20. Fuck Them Bitches (2006)

Hidden away on the finish of Kelis Was Right here – after the laid-back, samba-influenced nearer Have a Good Day – is a burst of Kelis at her most winningly splenetic, turning her consideration to that perennial bugbear, the Haters: “Preserve my identify out your mouth,” she presents, “I’ll preserve my foot out your butt.”

19. Feed Them (2022)

Because the launch of her final album, 2014’s Meals, Kelis has largely confined her releases to visitor spots – with Disclosure and TCTS amongst others – however this 12 months’s single Feed Them, a taster for her forthcoming album Dust, was a breezy, funky return, apparently designed to spotlight the necessity for extra fruit and veg in a single’s food plan.

18. Sugar Honey Iced Tea (2003)

Kelis at her fluffiest – the backing monitor comes laden with mushy soul strings and laid-back sax, the lovestruck lyrics are stuffed with blue skies and tweeting birds, the title line is sung in a speeded-up youngster’s voice – and but there’s nonetheless a unclean joke readily available: acronymise the title and it doesn’t appear fairly as candy.

17. Without end Be (2014)

4 years after reinventing herself as a home diva, one other left flip: Meals was produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, its sound an idiosyncratic, eclectic, leftfield tackle soul. With its husky vocal hovering over a tapestry of strings and horns and minimal piano, Without end Be is completely joyous.

16. 4th of July (Fireworks) (2010)

Her visitor appearances are outdoors this checklist’s remit, however all through her profession, Kelis has collaborated with dance producers – Timo Maas, Moby, Richard X, Crookers – which helped to clarify why her personal left flip into home music on 2010’s Flesh Tone labored: poppily melodic however robust, 4th of July (Fireworks)’s industrial failure was stunning.

15. Distance (2012)

The good what-if of Kelis’s profession: performed on the radio, obtainable on-line as a bootleg rip, by no means formally launched, the Skream-produced Distance was purported to be the primary single from an unfinished “trip-hoppy … darker” album. It’s nice: a whisper of two-step storage within the beats, the lyrics a couple of collapsing relationship – at odds with the luxurious digital backing.

Kelis final 12 months. {Photograph}: Mike Mora

14. Fashionable Thug (2001)

Kelis’s second album, Wanderland, was a industrial catastrophe: her US label refused to launch it and it flopped in all places else. But it’s simply nearly as good as her debut, as evidenced by the lurching beats and good, repetitive hook of Fashionable Thug. She subsequently re-recorded it with then-partner Nas, however the unique, that includes the Clipse’s Pusha-T, is the one.

13. Cobbler (2014)

Having usually complained about her file labels, Kelis sounded genuinely comfy on Meals. From its opening studio chatter to its nice self-deprecating gag in regards to the artist’s restricted vocal vary – it’s arduous to think about any of her friends countenancing such a factor – Cobbler is a writhingly funky supply of bountiful good vibes.

12. Get Alongside With You (1999)

Kelis isn’t significantly identified for ballads, however Kaleidoscope’s heartbroken Get Alongside With You – a bittersweet slow-motion tackle the very 1999 pattern for R&B tracks pushed by staccato riffs – showcases a suitably off-centre method to the shape: “Now I’m compelled to roam this planet sadly,” she laments, “lonely like a free baguette.”

11. Millionaire (2003)

Produced by imperial-phase André 3000 and nearly as good as something on OutKast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Under, Millionaire is a unbelievable monitor: a clipped new wavey drum machine underneath scattered, distorted synths and fabulous melody. In fact, you get somewhat extra André than Kelis on your cash, however who cares when the outcomes are this good?

10. Good Stuff (1999)

With its killer bassline, good lyrics – “I can love you in a single million methods, when you don’t prefer it, ship it again in 30 days” – and excellent visitor look from Pusha-T (then nonetheless calling himself Terrar), Good Stuff was intelligent, minimal and completely different: in its personal approach, as a lot of a calling card as Caught Out There.

9. Flashback (2001)

One other monitor that escaped the industrial automotive crash of Wanderland to stay one other day, the futuristic funk of Flashback turned up in similar kind on the album’s successor Tasty. Past the attractive melody, there’s nearly nothing to it – a troublesome beat, a little bit of synth – however that’s all it wants: the Neptunes at their spartan greatest.

8. Like You (2006)

Exterior her work with the Neptunes, Like You might need essentially the most hanging beat in Kelis’s catalogue: a cut-up, twisted pattern of an opera singer that bursts right into a nagging hook on the refrain. Alongside along with her mushy vocal – she breaks into amusing after a very forthright line – it makes Like You a brilliantly unique tackle a bed room gradual jam.

Kelis performs Acapella at Eve Nightclub, Las Vegas, in February 2010
Kelis performs Acapella at Eve Nightclub, Las Vegas, in February 2010. {Photograph}: Steven Lawton/FilmMagic

7. Acapella (2010)

Flesh Tone’s spotlight discovered David Guetta unexpectedly reining in his poppier tendencies: one million miles away from his work on the Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling, it’s a distorted, minimal electro-house banger: the ghost of Donna Summer season lurks someplace round Kelis’s efficiency, the refrain is fabulous, the general impact euphoric however by no means apparent.

6. Jerk Ribs (2014)

The titles of Meals’s tracks performed on Kelis’s second profession as a Cordon Bleu chef, however the lyrics to Jerk Ribs are a fantastic meditation on her jazz musician father and the best way music and reminiscence entwine: that they’re set to pressing, horn-laden, Afrobeat-influenced funk somewhat than one thing extra reflective solely makes them stronger.

5. Younger, Recent n’ New (2001)

A flop within the US, which appears inexplicable. That is by far the most effective of the Neptunes’ makes an attempt to forge a Twenty first-century funk-rock hybrid: the sound of Kelis bursting forth from a mass of automotive alarms and grinding electronics is massively thrilling; no comparable NERD manufacturing ever lived as much as it.

4. Bossy (2006)

As if to show she may make bizarre hit singles with out the Neptunes’ assist, Kelis collaborated with the producer Bangladesh – greatest identified for Lil’ Wayne’s A Milli – on Bossy: spindly keyboards, a plethora of moans and an 808 drum machine, over which she swaggers irresistibly: “I experience the beat like a bicycle – I’m icy chilly”.

3. Trick Me (2003)

Hats off to producer Dallas Austin, who wrote Trick Me – irrepressible hook, killer lyrics – and remodeled the tacky pre-set foxtrot rhythm on a 60s Mellotron keyboard into slinky reggae. However, it’s Kelis’s present. She sounds each seductive and steely, suggesting the music’s topic will rue his choice to mess her round.

2. Caught Out There (1999)

Kelis’s cameo on Ol’ Soiled Bastard’s Received Your Cash had already pricked individuals’s ears up, however Caught Out There was one of many nice attention-grabbing debuts of the 90s. The screamed chorus is what everybody remembers, however its energy lies within the shift from the chilly dismissive tone of the verses to the refrain’s bug-eyed fury.

1. Milkshake (2003)

Relations between Kelis and the Neptunes are at an all-time low, however earlier than all of it went bitterly unsuitable, their collaboration yielded her biggest music – and theirs. Milkshake is an astonishing file, manufactured from fizzing, blaring digital noise, an Egyptian darbuka drum and Kelis’s alternately insouciant and attractive vocal.

Who may have predicted that one thing this bizarre, experimental – and sometimes atonal – could be a worldwide smash? And but, who may have doubted it? Regardless of its thrilling sonic strangeness, Milkshake is impossibly catchy and eminently danceable: it’s like a dream about how wealthy and thrilling pop music could possibly be.

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