The American-Colombian singer, Kali Uchis, returns with a four-piece EP, TO FEEL ALIVE. Released Friday 24 April, fans are loving the singer’s drop since her 2018 ‘Isolation’ studio debut.
On her Instagram, Uchis wrote “recorded all of it alone, in my room, last week bcoz I won’t roll out my real album right now, but wanna give my babies something nobody needs listen to it, & I don’t wanna ANYONE to buy it. art is isolation era eating por vida era of me”, she lastly added regarding the album art.
Opening with shortest song, ‘honey baby (SPOILED!)‘, Kali Uchis makes her return with a no-BS attitude singing, “you respect my time and damn you want to spoil me” equally spoiled in love, affection and appreciation, not the material stuff (especially during a time of quarantine reflection). Uchis goes on that her lover would “treat me like a Queen…compliment my style and say you love my energy” and enlaces the track with lyricism on being someone’s “little angel” and always on their mind to the backdrop of a lullaby-esque, dream-like synth that plays into the outro.
‘angel‘ kicks off with a reverberating beat which becomes synced with Uchis’ rhythmic and individualistic voice: “everybody wants it, everybody’s waitin’…you should know that you’re everything I’m craving”. The track, which is said to have been previously put on Soundcloud by the artist in the early stages of her career, becomes sultrier still with a dangerous thrill inserted from the Narcos and historical cultural reference, ‘you’re just like a truck, can I be your Pablo Escobar?’ and the elusive order to ‘reach me on my cellular’ past borders. High temperatures, high notes, and the repetitive ‘little angel’ depiction forms the perfect romantic, lustful vibe for couples and situationships amongst quarantine.
Uchis denounces women being labelled as crazy in third short track ‘i want war (BUT I NEED PEACE)’. “I got needs” is firmly repeated at the chorus’ opening, as the wonderfully capitalised title illustrates the notion at war, of wanting to fight when in love and picking up on things that may seem small but knowing that what you actually need is peace. Uchis sings “they kept on calling me crazy but maybe that’s how God made me take a look at what you made me”: these lyrics confront the labelling of women as ‘psychos’ and ‘crazy’ when it’s the treatment of them that usually leads them to retaliate and stand their ground and then take on that ‘crazy’ label from the person that coaxed them. Verse 2 is truly where it’s at, making this track another stand out for the EP.
‘TO FEEL ALIVE‘ is my personal favourite on the EP, with its entrancing instrumentalism from the outset mixed with the beautiful story-telling and lyricism that is non-stop (I don’t think she takes a breath and it’s brilliant, tell me of a 2-minute song that isn’t great). “I love the smell of you burning your last bridge with me” is savage and just one of the many usable quotes you should prepare to see everywhere quite soon. On another note, Uchis shows how well-controlled her voice has become on her husky intonations throughout the song, on lines such as “because I’m a rebel, baby”, “you held the shovel, baby”, “I miss my family things will never be the same”.
Her lyrics also acknowledge the numbers of people being lost worldwide due to the pandemic: “to all the people that we lost I’m screaming rest in peace”. Kali Uchis reminds us of her contemporary RnB Queen status and respected range with her falsetto marring the background of ‘I just want to feel something – I just want to feel alive’ in the track’s outro, with lyrics that are very relatable and of their time during quarantine.
Images: Wikimedia Commons for microphone stage photo, Ridin’ Round video for bottom photo, and Kali Uchis’ Instagram for the remaining.