Fans of rising star Kali Uchis have long been awaiting her debut album Isolation for some time. The singer has been teasing the album for months, releasing hits like “Tyrant,” “After the Storm,” and even going on a brief tour which ended at the beginning of this year. Finally in March she announced Isolation would drop on Friday April 6th. I was fortunate enough to attend her tour in January before the album was released, and was looking forward to hearing the album after she previewed some songs during the concert. After months of anticipation, the album did not disappoint.
Starting off with a brief track, “Body Language (Intro)” immediately sets the tone with a dreamy, bossa nova style feel. But true to Kali’s independent nature, no track is exactly like another. As the first track fades into the next, “Miami” featuring Boston rapper BIA takes over and establishes Kali as a girl who can master any sound, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. One of my favorite lines from the entire album is showcased in this song, when Kali boldly declares “Why would I be Kim? I could be Kanye.”
Uchis continues with the “IDGAF” vibes in the next song “Just A Stranger” which also features Steve Lacy of The Internet. The song successfully stays catchy and fun as Steve Lacy repeats the hook “She wants my hundred dollar bills, she don’t want love…” The next song seemingly changes genres entirely, as Uchis winds down into a dreamy, love ballad on “Flight 22.” The sweeping violins and crooning horns liken the song to an older time, and Kali’s vocals melt perfectly into the sweet, yet slightly dismal lyrics of the track. She picks it right back up on the next track “Your Teeth In My Neck,” which again serves a catchy melody and a beat you can’t help but dance to. She confronts an unknown abuser as she repeats “You know better, you know, you know, you know better, you know, you know, it’s your teeth in my neck.”
The next track is her hit single from the album “Tyrant” featuring British singer Jorja Smith, which has a salsa-esque feel. She brings back the pop vibes in the next song “Dead To Me,” where she states exactly how she feels about her haters (“Don’t come for me unless I send for you, now you’re dead to me”). After that song she gives us another familiar track with a previously released, entirely Spanish song titled “Nuestra Planeta” featuring Reykon. The song is a perfect combination of Kali’s Colombian roots and funky, futuristic style. She continues with the heavy pop sound on the next track “In My Dreams,” which details the perfect dream world that exists inside her head. The next track, “Gotta Get Up (Interlude)” is a dreamy ode to staying in bed, and perfectly segways into the next song on the album “Tomorrow.” The song was co-written and produced by Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, and it’s a perfect blend of Kali Uchis and the Tame Impala sound. Followed by another short track, “Coming Home (Interlude)” transitions into a slightly more upbeat sound in which Uchis declares “I’m coming home, it’s been too long.” The next song is perhaps the most well known hit off the album, recruiting talent such as Tyler, The Creator and Bootsy Collins for “After the Storm.” It’s an uplifting and funky track that stands out among the rest. As we near the end of the album, Kali switches up her sound once again on “Feel Like A Fool.” It almost sounds like it could be an Amy Winehouse song, with it’s mix of classic jazz, funk and pop, but still retains Kali’s signature sound. The final track “Killer” closes the album with a slow piano ballad that allows Kali to call out the unknown abuser once and for all. As her voice croons over the keys and repeats “That makes you a killer..” listeners can relate to that feeling of sorrow and heartbreak.
All in all, Isolation goes on track after track with songs that each offer something different. From inspiring anthems to dancey in your face beats to soulful ballads, there is something for everyone. As a long time fan of Kali Uchis, I would say this album definitely lived up to the hype. She proved that she is her own artist with her own sound, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Favorite track: Tomorrow, Your Teeth In My Neck, Flight 22