Saturday, February 9, 2008

"Milkshake" Kelis

The thing I feel made this song an immediate and inescapable hit was the pure sound emanating from the annunciation of the lyrics. Lines like “I can teach you, but I have to charge” roll off your tongue no matter what they mean or even evoke. The synthesized bassline is also compelling. Ba niliana…da NA na…. The ringing of a bell every so often calls to mind an opium den.

A woman is seductively offering mentorship to another. She claims that her “milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” Obviously a “milkshake” is either a pair of breasts or the movement itself of a pair of breasts when their owner is walking down the street in a pair of high heels. What yard is our protagonist talking about? A prison yard? A playground? Or is "boys to the yard" a euphemism for a man's penis becoming erect. The sound certainly sounds like a schoolyard taunt. “I could teach you, but I have to charge” she adds.

I wonder what Kelis is demanding in payment. Or does the phrase “but I have to charge” bring so much rhythmical pleasure to “I could teach you” that it just had to have been added. It’s not even like “charge” rhymes with “yard” but the lines go so well together, you don’t care.

The chant morphs into to a siren song as our protagonist offers the secrets of her sex appeal to her friend. “I know you want it,” she teases. “I think it’s time.” After all, “the boys are waiting”. Again, our protagonist boasts about the effects her milkshake has on the prison population and offers to teach her “techniques that freaks these boys.” But the offer comes with a warning. “It can’t be bought, just know thieves get caught.” But still the boys “are waiting” and there are lessens to be learned: mainly that in order to freak the boys, one must have a “halo” in addition to one’s “charm.” In other words, one must act virginal in order to have sex appeal. Meanwhile one wonders what is keeping our protagonist so focused on the sex life of the female friend she’s addressing. Does she really just want her friend to be popular with the guys or does she want her all to herself? Or is the seductive rhythm of the composition simply making everything everyone says to it sound dirty?

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