After an intro track and the slinky, sultry and slow song “Miami,” Kali Uchis’ debut album takes off with a hook by no one less than Steve Lacy (producer of PRIDE off of the Pulitzer Prize winning album DAMN). “She wants one hundred dollar bills, she don’t want love…” It’s a big bouncy club cut guaranteed to get your ass moving. Yeah, the first two tracks were definitely very good, but now we know this album is not just good. It’s great.
“Flight 22” comes next, and I’m immediately reminded of Amy Winehouse–but in a good way. It’s an oldies-soul-with-an-edge sound, pensive and catchy, familiar and comfortable. Then we’re on the move again with “Your Teeth in My Neck.”
By now we’re deep in the album and so far she has done no wrong. And so it continues. I don’t know about you, but I think making a neo-soul album that’s worth listening to more than once, and one that has not just singles but solid deep tracks, is very, very hard. Most of them, even the critical darlings, leave my headspace quickly. Sometimes I hear them again a year later and can’t remember having heard them the first time.
With guests and producers like Bootsy Collins, Tyler the Creator, Damon Albarn, and Jorja Smith, this is an album with range that never slows down. Most excellent.