In a world where so much of our whole selves are sacrificed to those who are undeserving, Kali Uchis chooses to stay isolated. On her long anticipated debut album, Miss Uchis’ solitude is reclaimed from weakness to her biggest asset. Her breakout mixtape Por Vida in 2015 introduced us to Uchis’ joyous independence and themes of personal liberation. Isolation sees her in full blossom, solely from self love and internal growth, flowers that can only be watered from her own vase.
On Isolation Kali is often searching for routes to escape her own reality. (“lets get out of this hopeless town / nobody can stop us now” on tomorrow, ‘Flight 22’ and it’s fantasy getaway). On tranquil Gorillaz-assisted track ‘In my Dreams’ Kali resides in her own utopian dreamland where despite all the harshness of reality, nobody can touch her. Floaty chords and soaring vocals take the track to celestial heights, before interlude ‘Gotta Get Up’ snaps her back to reality.
As much as she runs, Uchis recognises that her hopelessly romantic dreamscape isn’t where the real fulfilment will be found.
Kali fights her seclusion on the albums first of two interludes, escaping the dreamland she previously conjured in order to move forward with reality alone; growing stronger with each song. Blossoming lead single ‘After the Storm’ is an affirming ode to self growth through healing, sprouting guest appearances from Tyler, the Creator in full flower boy force and the legendary Bootsy Collins.
Kali’s classic essence falls between vintage lounge room doo wop and luxurious, unexplored future sent soul. Her sounds timelessness rings familiar to the great Amy Winehouse, but Uchis’ Columbian tongue sets her in a whole other lane of neo-soul. Her poetic, romanticised lyricism sounds as much of an undying serenade to herself as it speaks to her listener.
Isolation is a testament to the rewards of true self-reflection. Kali proves that years of self discovery since her Por Vida mixtape are worth the patience and self discipline involved. Although Isolation is highly collaborative, Uchis’ co-production credits shine superior on every track, and are enough to believe her when on ‘Your Teeth In My Neck’ she triumphs “I’m on a roll on my own, I came to fight.”
You can stream Isolation below: