An Enticing Return To Splendour: A Listen To Midnight Snacks From Kelis

The Milkshake Queen returns. Husky, no-nonsense goddess Kelis selected single Midnight Snacks, the first since 2014, as her fanfare. Making no secret of her devotion and holding the title of a Le Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, her last album is entitled Food, but the subject landing in her art is purely coincidental.

"Food is a very carnal thing. Everyone can relate to it. It's very human; it's sensual; it's something that you crave. And it's sexy." She appreciates.

Back when we were partying in 99, Kelis - along with our gracious Missy E - delivered a powerful female gaze to the exuberant and instrumentally abundant Hip Hop production of her buddies The Neptunes. Initial track Caught Out There won worldwide attention as debut album Kaleidoscope went down in history as an outburst of rainbow coloured coolness equaling Kelis' trend-setting appearance, her assured self emblazed in her style.

Six LPs selling in their millions, multiple GRAMMY nominations and volumes of singles have swept the soulful innovator right back where she began over 20 years ago.

"I think it's about when I loved music, you know? I'm looking for the era when I was excited about it, going back to the beginning, and coming full circle."

Recorded in London Town on a studio boat; produced by The FaNaTix, pink hues are singled out from the past spectrum in Midnight Snacks as feathers, shimmer and Great Gatsy glamour accumulate in a trio of sensuality. Sound effects of a balmy evening and a cute baba play out; bass is turned up with no edgy joints, while synths behave as ghostly backing vocals behind her voice. Her voice, a voice hitting uniquely bizarre tones that made us fall in love with Kelis all those years ago.

“I heard the beat, thought it was dope, and the first thing that came to mind was Midnight Snacks. The FaNaTix were like, what are you talking about? And I was like: it makes you feel like a midnight snack! And that was it." She reminisces thoughtfully.

Photographer and director Adrienne Raquel - a must of the star wanting to work with a Black woman - devised a noir retro-futro escape. Imagery of edible delights shot close up, reminiscent of Cassius ft Cat Power and Pharrell's provocative Go Up, splice between a lounging Kelis singing: "Guilty Pleasures that I just can't deny". Food glorious food, yes, but welcomed to be applied to whatever other presence you'd like.

"It's funny to me, but I like the fact that you can take sex and food, and you can put these two things together, and they're totally interchangeable. I love that."

Midnight Snacks is feminine; Midnight Snacks is fierce. Kelis is feminine; Kelis is fierce. We wait, Martini in hand, olives on the table for more to come.

Article by Beverley Knight