Kali Uchis has been an underground pop star for awhile now. It wasn’t until 2015 when Uchis self released her debut EP, ‘Por Vida‘. The EP did well for a self-release, spawning 4 singles, and gained a small but dedicated fanbase to the Columbian star. Her R&B and electronic fused music captivated listeners as she began to come into the spotlight. But, it wasn’t until the release of her 2017 single ‘Tyrant‘ that Kali began to gain quite a following. The single was praised by critics, and began Uchis’ first major label album cycle. After the lead single, Kali dropped the latin banger ‘Nuestro Planeta‘ as well as ‘After The Storm‘, a collaboration with her long time friend Tyler, The Creator, as well as Bootsy Collins. Along with a performance of ‘After The Storm’ on The Tonight Show, it was announced Kali’s debut album, ‘Isolation‘ would be released. Is it really as good as the major hype it has? Let’s see.
The album begins with an interlude introduction, titled ‘Body Language‘. The track almost gives me very similar vibes to the introduction on her EP ‘Por Vida’, titled ‘Sycamore Tree’. Although, ‘Body Language’ has more sensual production, while ‘Sycamore Tree’ is almost a capella. The similar ad-libs between the tracks tie them together, and each represent the pieces of work they introduce quite well.
Besides the introduction, the song that really kicked off this album cycle is the lead single, ‘Tyrant‘. This R&B pop track is absolute perfection start to finish. The production is relaxing, and the chorus is catchy. It will get stuck in your head for days. This is a perfect lead single, and it an obvious summer anthem. The song features British singer Jorja Smith, a great addition to the track. The song aged so well, still feeling fresh even after a year after release.
Besides the singles, we have one of my favorite album tracks, ‘Your Teeth In My Neck‘. This track has some great R&B vibes, and has amazing production to fit in right behind that. This song feels like it has some very throwback elements to it, but still is fresh and the perfect 2018 song. The bridge is amazing, the breakdown is gorgeous, and the chorus is catchy. All around this track does no wrong.
Another album cut favorite would be ‘Dead To Me‘. This song is bad ass, as she sings about leaving a toxic person behind, who obviously doesn’t want that to happen. The lyrics are simple but still have a lot of meaning, all around another song I feel I’ll find timeless. Along with this track, another favorite is ‘Miami‘. This song is first song on the record, the interlude aside. This track is a perfect way to open the record. Uchis is really good at creating a world around her pieces of work. For ‘Isolation’, I see a very clear image in my head as I listen to this song. It’s done so well, I have a feeling this image will never fade. I love the line “Don’t do what I’m runnin’ from, but I’m always on the run / Now I can’t afford to look back, back”. BIA features on the track, and just enhances this song even more. They really didn’t play around on this one.
Although Uchis often mixes Spanish into a few of these songs (‘Tryant’, ‘Miami’, etc), it isn’t until ‘Nuestro Planeta‘ that she fully sings a song in Spanish. With the same producers as the massive hit ‘Chantaje’, a song by Shakira and Maluma, ‘Nuestro Planeta’ was the second single off of ‘Isolation’. Although I am not a Spanish speaker, this song is great. This tracks production is well done, and could be definitely be a latin hit for Uchis.
Honestly, looking at it, this album doesn’t have any distinct “bad songs”. Every single song this record has to offer is unique and fits into the record. Some of my other favorites have to be ‘Flight 22‘, ‘In My Dreams‘, and ‘Killer‘. They each have such interesting atmospheres to them, it is fascinating to listen to.
One of my final favorites from the record would be the third and current single from the album, ‘After The Storm‘. This was the song that got me really into Uchis, and captivated me to listen to the rest of her music at the time. This song, much like ‘Tyrant’, hasn’t aged in the slightest. Uchis brings positivity in the limelight of this song, with very nostalgic production to follow it. Tyler, The Creator joins her on this, and his verse just gives this track just some extra edge that puts it over the top. The song is catchy, and already seems to be a small hit for Uchis. It’s a perfect summer jam.
Overall, ‘Isolation’ can really do no wrong. Every single song fits into this giant puzzle, and although some songs aren’t as prevalent in my memory as others, each song is unique and fresh with every listen. I’m so happy with this release, and so happy to see Uchis getting the recognition deserved. I’d recommend anyone to give this a few listens, this record is worth it.
Essentials: Miami, Tyrant, Dead To Me, After The Storm
(9.3 / 10)