Kelis, 'Flesh Tone' (Will.i.am/Interscope)

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Flesh Tone
Critical Mass
Label: Will.i.am/Interscope

by Jessica Hopper

Recorded amid her messy divorce from Nas while she was six months pregnant with their son, Kelis' fifth album is part reinvention, part creative vengeance. Though her previous records were always more club than street, the R&B maverick goes full- tilt house diva on Flesh Tone, with her husky-voiced, Oprah-esque survivor aphorisms (and production from French dance-floor star David Guetta, Diplo, and will.i.am). On the heartbreakingly sweet "Song for the Baby," she vamps hard over platinum-polished pleasure disco-you can almost imagine her under the mirror ball, smiling at her diapered dance partner in the stroller.

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