|Add Date:||2018-08-12|| ||Pull Date:||2018-10-14|| |
|Week Ending:||16 Sep||2 Sep||26 Aug||19 Aug|
Kali Uchis has popped up as a guest vocalist for a number of high-profile acts—Gorillaz and Tyler, The Creator—but Isolation is her proper step into the spotlight on her own terms. What’s incredible about this album is how it folds in a wide range of musical styles—R&B / soul, bossa nova, reggaetón, hip-hop—into something that is constantly changing shape yet consistently enjoyable all the way through. I’ve been listening to this album for about a month and it’s quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year. Drop the needle anywhere on this album and you’ll hear why.|
FCCs: 12, 14, 15
Favorites: 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13
1) “Body Language (Intro)” (2:16) – Thick bass and airy flute make for a dreamy, bossa nova-inspired introduction to the album. Good if you need something short and sweet.
2) “Miami” (4:04) – Featuring BIA. Woozy and chiming music. Uchis’ lyrics are sung in kind of a sleepy-yet-alluring manner, with a guest rap verse right before the three-minute mark. (The Spanish word “cabroncitas” is said at the start of the song, and the rap verse kicks off with the phrase “blowin’ Kali Uchis,” which is either a reference to sex or drugs depending on how you turn your ear. If neither of these will set off the FCC, give this track a go.)
3) “Just a Stranger” (2:58)* – Featuring Steve Lacy. A punchy song that recasts the gold digger as a strong and savvy hustler. Prominent drums and bass.
4) “Flight 22” (3:37) – Between the waltzing tempo and the delicate string arrangements, this tune sounds like a throwback to the dreamy, lovestruck days of Motown. Unsurprisingly, it’s a collaboration with the Dap-Kings—y’know, the late Sharon Jones’ backing band.
5) “Your Teeth in My Neck” (3:06)* – This song’s a little more on the subdued side, but if you’re not watching for it, the lockstep bass and drums will have you tapping your feet. Latin and jazz influences are a little stronger here.
6) “Tyrant” (3:24)* – Featuring Jorja Smith. Stiff, strutting beat and a darker-sounding song about love and control. Smith’s verse is great.
7) “Dead to Me” (3:20)* – A brighter-sounding pop song about obsession. One of the most danceable songs on the album, with a bouncy, irresistible synthesized bass line.
8) “Nuestro Planeta” (3:23)* – Featuring Reykon. A song that’s entirely in Spanish! It’s punchy and poppy, with a guest verse and a prominent hip-hop beat. If you like reggaetón, put this on.
9) “In My Dreams” (3:21)* – Featuring Gorillaz. This sounds a lot like one of Gorillaz’ more lo-fi, poppy outings, with a muted drum machine and a synthesizer and not much else. Abrupt ending.
10) “Gotta Get Up (Interlude)” (1:53) – Kind of like the introduction to the album, but slower more psychedelic. Another great song to play if you need something quick before the top of the hour.
11) “Tomorrow” (3:10)* – Does this sound like a lost Tame Impala track? It should, because Kevin Parker’s got a co-writer’s and a producer’s credit on the track. If the idea of Uchis singing psychedelic soul over a Tame Impala instrumental is as appealing to me as it is to you, play this song.
12) “Coming Home (Interlude)” (2:40) – FCC “b****.” A strange two-part song. In the context of the album, it’s a bit of a lull. Out of context, there are better songs to play.
13) “After the Storm” (3:28)* – Featuring Tyler, The Creator & Bootsy Collins. A Colombian-American soul singer, a rapper, and a funk icon walk into a studio. The result is a woozy soul ballad that sounds like it’s been partially warped by heat. Just play it!
14) “Feel Like a Fool” (3:05) – FCC “p****,” “a**.” Damn! This song is an irresistible, uptempo soul throwback with a fantastic backing brass band. If it weren’t for the bad words I’d tell you to play it all the time.
15) “Killer” (2:52) – FCC “f***.” A slow, twinkling closer. There are a lot of small sounds—plinking piano, faint licks of guitar, light washes of strings—that make for a gentle conclusion to the album.