Album: Kelis <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Kelis Was Here, VIRGIN
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The Independent Culture

The trademark afro has gone, and with it, apparently, much of Kelis's individual style: Kelis Was Here seems primarily concerned with establishing this most distinctive of divas as a more mainstream R&B player, which puts a different light on lyrics such as those of "Little Star", her duet with Cee-Lo: "There's nothing special about me/I'm just a little star/If I shine brightly/It's probably a reflection of something you already are." And indeed, her issues seem more routine now, from the standard music-biz hard-life complaints of "Circus" and flimsy braggadocio of "Bossy" to the party prospects of "Weekend" and balladry of "Appreciate Me" - while "I Don't Think So" finds Kelis back in the feisty mode of "I Hate You So Much Right Now", shrivelling with a glare: "You want to get into my pants?/I don't think so." There are sparky arrangements - "Bossy" has a twangy bounce groove, and her tribute to the larger lady "I'm a Handful" reprises the spartan sound of "Milkshake". The sheer quantity of producers involved with the album (nine) militates against any sense of individual personality. Success would, therefore, seem assured.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Little Star', 'Bossy', 'I'm A Handful', 'Fire'