Milkshake (song)

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"Milkshake"
Single by Kelis
from the album Tasty
Released August 25, 2003
(see release history)
Format CD single, digital download, vinyl
Recorded 2003 Hovercraft Studios
(Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Genre R&B, electronica
Length 3:02
Label Star Trak, Arista
Writer(s) Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo
Producer(s) The Neptunes
Kelis singles chronology
"Finest Dreams"
(2003)
"Milkshake"
(2003)
"Not in Love"
(2004)

"Milkshake" is a song by American recording artist Kelis and the lead single from her third studio album, Tasty. The song was released in the United States on August 25, 2003, by Star Trak and Arista Records, and internationally on November 24. It was written and produced by The Neptunes, a duo that had made the majority of Kelis' songs in the past. According to Kelis, "milkshake" in the song is used as a metaphor for "something that makes women special."[1] The song is noted for its euphemistic chorus and low beat R&B sound. The song was also in the promo for the SpongeBob episode License to Milkshake.

The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in December, 2003,[2] becoming Kelis' best charting single in the country to this day. The song achieved commercial success internationally, as it topped the chart in Ireland, and peaked inside the top three in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. "Milkshake" was certified gold in the United States, where it has sold 883,000 paid downloads. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2004.

Background[edit]

"Milkshake" was written and produced by The Neptunes, a duo consisting of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. The song came out when Tasty was chosen as the album's title.[3] When making the song, Kelis "knew right away that it was a really good song", and she wanted it to be the album's first single.[4] When asked about the meaning of the song, she told The Observer that "It means whatever people want it to; it was just a word we came up with on a whim, but then the song took on a life of its own."[5] However, in an interview with The Associated Press, she likened one's milkshake to one's mojo; "A milkshake is the thing that makes women special. It's what gives us our confidence and what makes us exciting."[1] Recording sessions took place at Hovercraft Studios in Virginia.[6] Phil Tan mixed the recordings at Right Track Studios in New York City.[6]

Composition[edit]

A 19-second sample of "Milkshake".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Milkshake" is a contemporary R&B song,[7] and Joey Rivaldo of About.com described it as a "low beat dance song".[8] The song is noted for its chorus, in which Kelis sings "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard".[9] The line was referred to as a "sexy, euphemistic playground rap" by MTV News.[9] The song's riff was described as "blaring synth-funk".[10] A tingling sound resembling an order-up counter bell is used throughout the song.[7][11] Andy Kellman of Allmusic compared the song's suggestive lyrics to "Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6, "In My House" by Mary Jane Girls and "Touch It" by Monifah.[10] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Hal Leonard Corporation, "Milkshake" has a moderate beat rate of 113 beats per minute.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Milkshake received positive reviews. About.com's Joey Rivaldioloio rated the song four out of five stars, and stated: "Clearly this is the case of my milkshake is better than yours, so grab yours quick, or we'll have to charge."[8] While reviewing the soundtrack for the film Mean Girls (2004), in which "Milkshake" is featured, Heather Phares of Allmusic wrote that the song describes "the movie's playfully menacing undercurrent," and called the song "fantastic", and that it is "basically a three-minute tutorial in sex appeal."[13] Rollie Pemberton of Pitchfork called the song "brilliant", and said: "Equal parts cantina gyration and future-funk, Kelis plays the coquette, enticing the entire American male populace with rhythmic coos while simultaneously providing an apt tutorial for aspiring temptresses."[14] Bjorn Randolph of Stylus said that the song "may well be remembered as their [The Neptunes'] masterpiece".[7] Mark Danson of Contactmusic.com was not very fond about the song, criticizing her Neptunes sound, and said: "as it sounds like [Pharrell] Williams has done this one in his sleep, it'll probably slip under the radar unless it has a fairly decent video to back it up. It’s obviously supposed to be a kind of sexy electronica, but it just ends up sounding slack."[15] Tony Naylor of NME called the song "probably the oddest track" on the Tasty album.[16]

The Observer named the song the best single of 2004.[5] In 2004, Pitchfork made a list of the top 50 singles of 2003 and listed the song at number eight.[14] In 2005, Pitchfork made a list of the top 100 singles of 2000–2004, listing "Milkshake" at number 21.[17] Stylus named the song the 13th-best single of 2000–2005.[7] In September 2011, VH1 ranked the song at #61 on its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the '00s.[18] In October 2011, NME placed it at number 136 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[19]

Chart performance[edit]

"Milkshake" debuted at number 73 on the September 6, 2003, chart of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart,[20] and peaked at number four on January 3, 2004.[21] In October 2003, it debuted at number 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[22] It was Kelis' second entry on the chart, following "Caught out There", which spent twelve weeks on the chart between December 1999 and February 2000.[23] In its thirteenth week on the chart, "Milkshake" reached its peak of number three, and stayed there for five consecutive weeks.[21] The song charted on the Hot 100 for twenty-two weeks,[21] and was certified Gold on October 25, 2004, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[24] "Milkshake" also spent a week at number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart in December 2003.[25] The song has sold 883,000 paid digital downloads in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[26] It was listed at number ten on the 2004 year-end chart of the Hot 100, and number fourteen on the year-end chart of Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[27][28] In 2004, "Milkshake" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.[29]

The song performed well internationally, reaching the top ten on many charts. In Ireland, it debuted at number fifteen on the Irish Singles Chart, and later topped the chart for five consecutive weeks.[30] Due to the success, it was listed at number four on the year-end chart of 2004 by the Irish Recorded Music Association.[31] In the United Kingdom, "Milkshake" peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, where it remained for four consecutive weeks and was it was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[30][32] In Australia, it was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and peaked at number two on the ARIA Singles Chart for five non-consecutive weeks.[30][33] It was also certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), and peaked at number three on the singles chart.[30][34] The song also peaked inside the top five in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.[30]

Music video[edit]

Kelis in the music video for "Milkshake"

The music video for "Milkshake" was directed by Jake Nava.[35] In the video, Kelis enters a diner called Tasty's Yard. She dances suggestively, and puts her lips around a cherry, which causes a mother to cover her child's eyes. A cook, played by rapper Nas, starts delivering milkshakes to the customers while Kelis dances. A milkshake machine then starts spurting milkshake all over the customers, and more and more people enter the "yard".[9] FHM named the music video the 73rd sexiest music video by a female of all time and commented: "Here she's backed up by a posse of dancers wearing tiny diner uniforms. The way she sucks a milkshake and bites a cherry is just unfairly sexy", and said that the best part is when Kelis demonstrates a "perfect bending-over-oven technique".[36]

Cultural impact[edit]

"Milkshake" has been featured in several films, such as Mean Girls and Norbit.[13][37] It is heard in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story when Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) and his gang are working at a car wash and at the end when White Goodman (Ben Stiller), who is fat, sings while shaking his fat "boobs". In Date Movie, the song is played when actress Alyson Hannigan dances around on the streets wearing a fatsuit.[38] In the Family Guy episode "Sibling Rivalry", Peter Griffin is forced to sing the song to prisoners.[39] McSweeney's published a series of "Short Imagined Monologues", including one regarding "Milkshake" from the point of view of "an aging Kelis".[40] In February 2007, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart jokingly reported that the song had been chosen as the campaign song of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.[41] The song was featured in the The Simpsons episode "The Great Simpsina" (first broadcast in 2011). The infamous line was also referenced by Mia Fey in the video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. When first meeting Dahlia Hawthorne, she says, "Well, I suppose we all know whose milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...".

In Kelis' song "Bossy", the lead single for her fourth studio album, Kelis Was Here, "Milkshake" is referred to in the chorus, when she sings: "I'm bossy [...] I brought all the boys to the yard".[42] Justin Bond of cabaret duo Kiki and Herb said that he had seen many people lip-sync to the song in clubs, and called the song "a big wink about the way you can reclaim your sexuality—it's about making the person who's objectifying you the weaker one."[43] In 2010, Kelis said that she believed the song changed the music for female singers, comparing the music before and after "Milkshake" was a hit, and said: "I mean you kind of have to be retarded to deny that it literally changed female vocalists."[44]

The ABC TV series Ugly Betty featuring Becki Newton (as Amanda Tanen) covered the song in the second season episode "A Nice Day for a Posh Wedding".

The reality TV series The Glee Project featured the song on the fourth episode "Sexuality" of Season 2, using it in a mashup with the Maroon 5 song Moves Like Jagger. The song is used during the week's music video, depicting the Season 2 cast taking a sex education class.

American actress Lindsay Lohan, who plays the main character from Mean Girls, the film where "Milkshake" is in one scene, said she is a fan of the song.

The song has been used in a 2012 promo for the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "License to Milkshake".

The song was used in 2 Broke Girls episode And the Pearl Necklace as Caroline Channing's ringtone.

The song was featured in The New Normal's 15th episode titled "Dairy Queen", in which it was used in a flashmob supporting breastfeeding in public.

In April 2013, there was a renewed interest in the video[citation needed] as a 4Minute cover version had been used as an Eatyourkimchi April Fools' Day prank.

In a 2004 episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher", he comments about the fundraising efforts of Democratic Presidential Candidate Carol Mosley Braun stating that "her milkshake brings all the boys to HER yard."

Track listing[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
"Fly Again" by Kristine W
Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs number-one single
December 6, 2003
Succeeded by
"Waiting for You" by Seal
Preceded by
"Leave Right Now" by Will Young
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
January 29, 2004 – March 3, 2004
Succeeded by
"Toxic" by Britney Spears

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United States[75] August 25, 2003 Digital download
Australia[76] November 24, 2003
New Zealand[77]
Sweden[78]
United Kingdom[45]
United States[46] December 29, 2003 Digital Radio Remix
United Kingdom[79] January 5, 2004 CD single

References[edit]

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