Record Review: Summer 2018 has arrived in Kali Uchis’ ‘Isolation’

As winter retreats and snow continues to melt, the promise of summer glimmers in the near future, Kali Uchis’ debut studio album “Isolation” hints at the relaxing summer days to come with tracks such as “Miami” and “Flight 22” that capture the essence of dazed and dreamy afternoons.


Uchis, who has cultivated a following that recognizes her for the retro sound of her music, first rose to recognition in 2015 with her self-released EP “Poor Vida.” Often singing in both Spanish and English on the same track, or even the same sentence, the Colombian-American artist has developed a devoted fan-base since 2012 when she first began releasing her music and stylistic videos.

While Uchis’ “Poor Vida” largely seemed to gravitate towards themes of loneliness, failing relationships and the struggles that befall a young adult, in “Isolation,” Uchis seems to find comfort in these motifs, rather than despair. Listening to “Isolation,” Uchis appears to be embracing the limitless freedom that comes with solitude, and the power that comes with withdrawing from the present in order to turn an optimistic gaze towards the future.

On April 6, Uchis blessed fans of alternative and soulful music once again with her eclectic style and recognizable smooth vocals spanning multiple genres such as; R&B, reggaeton, hip hop, neo-soul, among other influences.

Prior to the album’s release, Uchis released three singles, most notably “Tyrant” and “After the Storm.”

“All I hear is sirens in world so violent,” Uchis sings in “Tyrant” featuring Jorja Smith, a song which seems to be self aware and reflective of the chaotic world many young people live in today. In “After the Storm,” featuring Tyler the Creator, Uchis comforts fans in her unique way.

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Any fan of Lana Del Rey is sure to find Uchis’ music irresistible, melancholy and perfectly depressing. Like Del Rey, Uchis has mastered the art of finding a home in the motif of emotional turmoil and perpetual sadness.

“The sun’ll come out, nothing good ever comes easy, I know times are rough, But winners don’t quit, So don’t you give up,” are the lyrics in the mellowed out, calming haze that is “After the Storm,” a song perfect to tide someone over after a bad day. In “After the Storm,” Uchis and Tyler the Creator strike a balance between her retrosound and his deep voice, a juxtaposition hand crafted for easy listening.

Uchis continues on this trip of self-empowerment with a new anthem for anyone who has recently broke up with a lover or friend.

“You’re dead to me, you’re obsessed with me, just let me go, you’re dead to me, I’m not somebody that you know,” Uchis sings in the song “Dead To Me,” a burst of colorful and electronic emotions.

While “Isolation” for the most part lives in it’s little niche of hazy and mellow-sounding music, a few upbeat tracks like “Just a Stranger” featuring Steve Lacy and “Your Teeth In My Neck” balance the album out by adding energy.

“She don’t want love, she wants my hundred-dollar bill,” Lacy sings on the playful counter-chorus.

“Isolation” is the summer cocktail you didn’t know you were craving. Uchis captures the beauty of youth and freedom, but doesn’t sugarcoat or shy away from addressing the hardships that befall young people as they struggle to navigate life, love and hustle to make ends meet. It’s the perfect album for any person seeking to recline, relax and momentary escape.