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"Milkshake" is a song by American recording artist Kelis and the lead single from her third studio album, Tasty. It was originally offered to Britney Spears for her fourth studio album In the Zone, but was rejected for unknown reasons. The song was released in the United States on August 27, 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." The song is noted for its euphemistic chorus and low beat R&B sound.

Kelis milkshake.jpg
Single by Kelis
from the album Tasty
ReleasedAugust 27, 2003
Recorded2003; Hovercraft Studios
(Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Producer(s)The Neptunes
Kelis singles chronology
"Finest Dreams"
"Not in Love"

The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 2003,[3] becoming Kelis' best charting single in the country to this day. Outside the United States, the song topped the charts in the Republic of Ireland, and peaked inside the top ten of the charts 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.


"Milkshake" was written and produced by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, better known as The Neptunes. The song came out when Tasty was chosen as the album's title.[4] 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.[5] Recording sessions took place at Hovercraft Studios in Virginia.[6] Phil Tan mixed the recordings at Right Track Studios in New York City.[6]

When asked about the meaning of the song, Kelis 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."[7] However, in an interview with the Associated Press, she likened one's milkshake to one's self-confidence; "A milkshake is the thing that makes women special. It's what gives us our confidence and what makes us exciting."


"Milkshake" is an R&B song,[1] and Joey Rivaldo of described it as a "low beat dance song".[2] The song is noted for its chorus, in which Kelis sings "My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard".[8] The line was referred to as a "sexy, euphemistic playground rap" by MTV News.[8] The song's riff was described as "blaring synth-funk".[9] Unlike many urban pop songs, which rely on drum machines, the beat consists of a lone darbuka playing a rhythm similar to a belly dance. A manjira sample resembling an order-up counter bell is used throughout the song.[1][10] 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.[9] According to the sheet music published at by Hal Leonard Corporation, "Milkshake" has a moderate beat rate of 113 beats per minute.[11]

Critical receptionEdit

"Milkshake" received critical acclaim upon its release, both for its inventive and groundbreaking production as well as Kelis' vocal performance.'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."[2] 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."[12] 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."[13] Bjorn Randolph of Stylus said that the song "may well be remembered as their [The Neptunes'] masterpiece".[1]

Mark Danson of was not very fond of the song, criticizing the 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."[14] Tony Naylor of NME called the song "probably the oddest track" on the Tasty album.[15] Adam Webb of Yahoo! Music UK said that the song "nestles in seamlessly, the rhythm as relentless as a parade of majorettes with Kelis upfront as the cheerleader."[16] Neil Drumming of Entertainment Weekly called the song a "lusty party anthem".[17] Ernest Hardy of Rolling Stone called it "the superfreakiest song on the charts",[18] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called it "thick and creamy",[19] Steve Jones of USA Today called it "saucy",[20] and Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian said that in the song "Kelis exploits her husky croon like never before, pouring it over lascivious double entendre."[21]

The Observer named the song the best single of 2004.[7] In 2004, Pitchfork made a list of the top 50 singles of 2003 and listed the song at number eight.[13] In 2005, Pitchfork made a list of the top 100 singles of 2000–2004, listing "Milkshake" at number 21.[22] Stylus named the song the 13th-best single of 2000–2005.[1] In September 2011, VH1 ranked the song at #61 on its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the '00s.[23] In October 2011, NME placed it at number 136 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[24]

Commercial performanceEdit

"Milkshake" debuted at number 73 on the September 6, 2003, chart of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart,[25] and peaked at number four on January 3, 2004.[26] In October 2003, it debuted at number 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[27] 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.[28] In its thirteenth week on the chart, "Milkshake" reached its peak of number three, and stayed there for five consecutive weeks.[26] The song charted on the Hot 100 for twenty-two weeks,[26] and was certified Gold on October 25, 2004, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[29] "Milkshake" also spent a week at number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart in December 2003.[30] The song has sold 883,000 paid digital downloads in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[31] 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.[32][33] In 2004, "Milkshake" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.[34]

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.[35] Due to the success, it was listed at number four on the year-end chart of 2004 by the Irish Recorded Music Association.[36] In the United Kingdom, "Milkshake" peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart, where it remained for four consecutive weeks and it was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[35][37] 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.[35][38] It was also certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), and peaked at number three on the singles chart.[35][39] The song also peaked inside the top five in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.[35]

Music videoEdit

The music video for "Milkshake" was directed by Jake Nava.[40] 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".[8] FHM named the music video the 73rd sexiest music video by a female performer 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".[41]

Usage in mediaEdit

Track listingEdit

Charts and certificationsEdit

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label
United States[83] August 25, 2003 Digital download
Australia[84] November 24, 2003 EMI
New Zealand[85]
United Kingdom[42] Virgin
United States[43] December 29, 2003 Digital Radio Remix
  • Star Trak
  • Arista
United Kingdom[87] January 5, 2004 CD single Virgin


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