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Wanderland Review

by Andy Kellman

Wanderland unfortunately didn't build on the promise Kelis showed throughout 1999's Kaleidoscope, and it didn't even come out in the States, but quickly dismissing it as a sophomore slump would be rash. In fact, the album's first three songs -- "Young, Fresh n' New," "Flash Back," and "Popular Thug" -- are on an even standing with the best of the singer's debut. "Young, Fresh n' New" is particularly stunning, a buzzing grind with a chaotic loop that could've been lifted from a pinball machine. As a song, it doesn't have much grounding, yet the Neptunes cast their disorienting eccentricities all over it and come up with a production that could've only been suited for Kelis. After that solid beginning, the album continually loses steam and gains it back. The revolving door of guests hinder the album more than it bolsters it; "Perfect Day," for instance, sounds more like a No Doubt album cut with a guest appearance from Kelis than the other way around. Despite the album's bumpiness, it proves that Kelis and the Neptunes should remain linked indefinitely. Until the third album, hope for two things: a more consistent batch of songs and no assistance from those who don't inhabit Kelis' and the Neptunes' world.

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