There’s something about Kali Uchis’ voice that I just love. Quite frankly, her sound is unique and distinct; nobody out right now sounds like her. That’s why I was particularly excited when I heard her debut album was released on April 6.
Since the release of her very first mixtape ‘Drunken Babble’ in 2012, Miss. Uchis has truly come a long way both artistically and musically. While ‘Isolation’ features a mixtape of Latin Pop, Rock and R&B elements, Kali doesn’t stray away from her ‘Doo-Wop’ origins. The album begins with ‘Body Language’, a song that immediately gives you a paradise vibe. It has hints of Latin elements but still leaves listeners feeling as though they shouldn’t have a care in the world. It seems as though the producers knew that ‘Body Language’ would give off those feels because the track ‘Miami’ follows afterwards. Featuring New York-based rapper, BIA, the song speaks on living ‘that’ life in Miami, Florida. Sex, drugs and money are the lyrical undertones of the track.
Then we get into ‘Just a Stranger’, ‘Flight 22’ and ‘Your Teeth In My Neck.’
With ‘Just a Stranger’, one of the things that stick out is the bass guitar and of course the chorus; “She wants my hundred dollar bills, she don’t want love.” Instant Instagram caption for the Summer. ‘Flight 22’, inspired by the old-school Doo-Wop era, is a beautiful slow love song. In ‘Your Teeth In My Neck,’ the keyboard, drums and strums of the bass guitar create a smooth beat that makes the track easy on the ears even though the topic is kind of heavy.
Her song ‘Tyrant,’ features British singer Jorja Smith and is one of leading tracks on the album. From the beat down to the lyrics, the song is composed nicely. I don’t see anyone collaborating with her on this other Jorja; it’s just perfect.
‘Dead To Me,’ ‘Nuestro Planeta’ featuring Reykon, and ‘In My Dreams’ all offer sounds that are relatively new to Kali. While ‘Nuestro Planeta’ gives listeners a taste of Kali’s ability to shine in her native tongue, ‘In My Dreams’ and ‘Dead To Me’ shows that her vocals can also mesh well with a Psych Pop-Rock sound.
Moving closer to the end of the album, Kali transitions into a slower tempo with the tracks. ‘Gotta Get Up,’ is an interlude that has a super chill vibe to it. ‘Tomorrow,’ has an airy Pop-Rock sound with light vocals from Uchis. ‘Coming Home’ starts off very modern and electronic sounding but then abruptly switches to alternative R&B; something that Tyler, the Creator would do.
Funny enough, the following track ‘After the Storm’ features longtime collaborator Tyler, the Creator and Funk master Bootsy Collins. With this song, I love how Tyler enters the track. His voice is deep but it pairs perfectly with funk elements that are present throughout the song.
Kali Uchis ends ‘Isolation’ with how she began her career.
‘Feel Like a Fool’ and ‘Killer’ definitely brings listeners back to the Doo-Wop era. There are hints of Amy Winehouse in ‘Feel Like a Fool,’ both lyrically and style wise. ‘Killer’ is much slower and offers a Blues/Jazz vibe. Depressed and upset with her lover, Kali sings about her woes in different states of her emotions.
Overall, ‘Isolation’ is a very solid piece of work. I was thoroughly impressed with Kali Uchis and the direction she took with the album. There wasn’t a song that I skipped or strongly disliked during my listen. If you haven’t already, give the album a try – its worth the listen for sure.