“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.” 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, 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.
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The music video for “Milkshake” was directed by Jake Nava. 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”. 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”.
“Milkshake” has been featured in several films, such as Mean Girls and Norbit. 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. In the Family Guy episode “Sibling Rivalry”, Peter Griffin is forced to sing the song to prisoners. McSweeney’s published a series of “Short Imagined Monologues”, including one regarding “Milkshake” from the point of view of “an aging Kelis”. 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. 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. In her second trial, when Dahlia Hawthorne is called as a witness, she thinks: “(Well, we 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”. 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.” 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.”
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 as a 4 Minute cover version had been used as an Eatyourkimchi April Fools’ Day prank.
In episode nine of the first season of Orange is the New Black, the inmates dance to the song at Taystee’s release party.
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.”
During a scene in the 2012 American comedy film Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy sang the song.
In 2014, English television personality and aspiring singer Holly Hagan, who rose to fame in Geordie Shore, covered the song, turning it into an electropop/house song. The music video premiered on 31 July 2014. The features Hagan sitting in a throne surrounded by multiple men in suits, female dancers dancing to the song and barechested muscled men holding milkshakes.