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Released: 4th July 2005.

Missy Elliott - The CookbookReturning with her sixth album in eight years one can be forgiven for thinking that Missy is opting for quantity over quality. Up until now this hasn't been the the case, with the previous five albums being a credit to her and the music industry.

The lead single "Lose Control" still sounds box fresh despite extensive airplay. However, tracks like "Meltdown", "4 My Man" and the pseudo gangster of "Click- Clack" bring the overall standard of the album down.

The musical inventiveness which made Missy a superstar has taken a new form. Now her experimentalism comes through stopping the track mid flow or randomly yelling something like "wicked".

There are still some terrific tracks to be found. The Neptunes-produced "On And On" sees her back in top form, and "Teary Eyed" is probably one of the strongest R&B songs made this year. "Bad Man", despite lacking a chorus as such, is fantastic, mainly due to the fact it features MIA, the heir to Missy's throne.

Sadly, this is Missy's weakest album yet. She will have to return to her more substantial originality and invetiveness if she wants to remain at the top of her league.

* * * (N Jobbins)

Back in the mid 1990s, Missy Elliott was one of the most innovative hip hop stars in the world. After the dull mess that was "Under Construction", can "The Cookbook" improve on things?

Let's cut to the chase and say the answer straight away, shall we? This album is even more dull than the previous one, if that is possible. Aside from lead single "Lose Control" (with its silly talk of her "cute face", her "chubby waist" and how she'll "make you do a double take" without ever explaining why) the tracks all blend into one.

The whole album has the typical 00s Missy Elliott feel to it. Obtrusive heavy beats, egoistical rapping and plenty of sexual innuendo if you can actually determine the lyrics from under the beats.

The album does also contain a number of slower moments however, and "My Struggles", a collaboration with Mary J Blige is a definite highlight on what is otherwise a typically terrible Missy Elliott album.

* (matthew_dixon)

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