Kaleidoscope — Kelis

By Dave Teeuwen

When Lauren Hill released Miseducation, she set a new standard for the depth and quality of female soul/hip-hop. Like it or not, it redefined what listeners expect of the genre. Kelis’s new album, Kaleidoscope, may not quite measure up to the over-all quality of Hill’s, but it comes pretty close.

Its first single, "Caught out there" gets plenty of radio-play, but doesn’t really reveal the rest of the album, which shows a mature approach from such a new performer.

Kaleidoscope is the kind of album most older artists wish they had released when they started out. Whether or not it gets a lot of attention in the long run, it is strong enough musically to stand up to the wear and tear of time.

Beginning with somber subjects such as rejection and break-ups, the rest of the album explores more ’90s approved subjects such as nostalgia (à la cuts like "Roller Rink" and "Ghetto Children"). While you can’t knock someone for looking back on life, it seems the past has outdone the present for a decade too long.

On the whole, however, Kaleidoscope is too strong to allow its few flaws to really drag it down.