The lives we live today are different from those of the 20-somethings before us, but we all share those vulnerable, haunting and yet liberating moments that define us forever. Experimental songbird Kilo Kish helps us remember that self-awareness holds more weight than IG likes or meaningless hangouts with her debut album, Reflections In Real Time.
Kilo released the album last Monday (Feb. 29) on her own imprint, Kisha Soundscape + Audio, after changing her surroundings (FLA to NY to LA) and removing herself from the social pages that once brought her cool kid fame.
The artist has revealed how stepping away from her familiar world helped find her center again. The album presents this in a clear and concise way, almost as if we’re reading into a well-organized journal that morphs into a mirror to help us figure out ourselves.
“Thank You!” opens the 20-track LP, which appears to be recorded after the 24-year-old completed the album. From there, we jump into the introductory, “Hello, Lakisha,” a campy tune that roadmaps the journey of her struggle from jobs to loving her unapologetically black name. “When I sixteen, I wanted money/I put ‘Lakisha’ on my resume how funny/It was a joke that I found out nobody would call me back because of it,” she says in jest. We get sexual constraints out the way with “Distractions: I: The Opposite Sex,” an overview of how temptation keeps us weak while paired with an electric guitar, creating a candlelit groove. The jams continue through “Age + Self Esteem: A Funhouse Mirror,” “Distractions II: The Dilemma of Cool” and “Self Importance.” The tracks are full of futuristic trippy thoughts and sounds often captured by our self-conscience and usually left at the bottom of a shot glass.
We also take a turn for the sentimental with Kish through “Taking Responsibly,” “Intermission (featuring John Anderson)” and “The Fear of a Dilettante.” Kish’s choices for delicate piano solo in the middle of her album helps listeners envision the buildup to a potential quarter-life crisis. “I’m blowing a good life, I’m blowing a good life here/Had a clue but I lost it,” it continues on “Obsession.” The difference lies in the eclectic keys and production that places you in that moment of the chaotic mess made, leading her to turn to every outlet possible, including her faith.
A stand out on the latter of the album is “Existential Crisis Hour!” a series of questions Kilo asks and answers with Donald Glover. “Kilo: No matter how hard I press my face into yours, a space remains so am I alone? Donald: “Yep, Nope, God no.” The questions jump around like your emotion, which makes it hilarious and poignant.
Rounding out the album is the cleverly titled, “Outpatient Mentality.” The somber track is peak reflection, reminding us all that not all sickness requires medical attention. Starting with electric chords and airy vocals, five minutes of silence land in the middle of the track, reminiscent of the 4.5 minutes of build up in Death Cab for Cutie's atl modern classic, "I Will Possess Your Heart." We come out to the other side with Kilo looking back on a great love and possibly embarking on her journey of self-awareness once again.
A personal take on an album—and a debut, at that—can be problematic for the masses, but Kilo’s masterful vision infused with experimental sounds finds a way to make the journey less about herself and more on ourselves. Figuring out just who we are and what we stand for is a journey that will surpass our 20s, but as Kilo reminds us, we should be too busy living our lives to mull over the inevitable.