For anyone who’s heard the sensuous energy of “Bossy” or “Milkshake,” the pop prowess of Kelis is completely obvious. Having two of the great singles of the decade is no small feat, but it takes a different sort of energy to put together a great album. Opening with “Bossy” after a short “Intro” is a great move on Kelis Was Here; it establishes a mood for the album of self-awareness and self-confidence. The beat on “Bossy” is a minimalist masterpiece, and Kelis “rides it like a bicycle,” spinning wheels of catchy verse while oozing sex left and right. But the beauty of “Bossy” is it’s first line, “You don’t have to love me, you don’t even have to like me, but you will respect me!” and, unfortunately, Kelis gives us few reasons to respect her. As a whole, the album falls far short of its potential. “Like You” features infectious amazing things in the beat, but it lacks a strong hook or any memorable lines, likewise for “Aww Shit!” If anything, we should be grateful for at least getting “Bossy” out of all this, but so many of these songs hint at similar potential that one can’t help but feel unsatisfied when they don’t get there.

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