Kali Uchis’ first studio album, Isolation, is a mental tug of war between finding an anchor in escapism and abandoning reality. This whimsical bout of misdirectional pulls should not be misconstrued as mindless philandering. The Colombian-American songstress instinctively weaves her vulnerability and strength into the threads of her quirky neo-soul 15-track project to prevent that assumption.
The second half of the album seems more of a traceable portion of the “Only Girl” artist’s journey. With the Spanish-speaking single, “Nuestro Planeta,” and the Gorillaz-produced “In My Dreams,” the first proclamation to escape reality is defined. Uchis expresses her desires for “solo tú y mi… aqui en nuestro planeta,” while questioning why anyone would want to stay awake when dreams are so wonderful, on the 8-bit stylings of the ninth track.
The following No. 10 is an enchanting anti-lullabye to awaken the songstress from her escape into her dream world. From prompting herself to get up and “get [herself] something real,” she has renewed her faith in her power to alter the ugly, harsh realities she was escaping, with “Tomorrow.” On the Sounwave-produced “Coming Home,” she finds herself back in the place she was escaping in the first place; confirming her answers were always within her. Closing the album with the timeless and effortless, “Killer,” the album seems to come full-circle in comparison to the mysterious opener, “Body Language.”
Kali Uchis told a 47-minute-long tale of wandering, love —lost and found, through pain and strength, while flexing her native lingo—along with some Spanglish, and her love for old time movies and storytelling on “Flight 22.” The Grammy-nominated singer’s airy, sultry vocals, along with notable features (Bootsy Collins, Tyler The Creator, Gorillaz, Thundercat, and Jorja Smith) and video treatments is the perfect soundtrack for facing reality or escaping into their dream world. —AP