Kelela brings back 90s R&B vibes with an electronic twist to compliment her sweet vocals on her latest album, Take Me Apart.
Her songs circulate around the topics of sex and relationships. The instrumentals provide an unorthodox blend of sounds which compliment each other in an oddly satisfying way.
There will be points when listening to this album you might ask yourself, “Is this Aaliyah reincarnated?” Not quite, but close. (No one can be Aaliyah because she is a legend.)
The project is filled with pleasant surprises as songs vary from serene and calm, such as “Enough” and “Altadena,” to a hybrid of heavy bass and techno in “Better.” Across all tracks, Kelela’s voice transitions smoothly from staccato to legato notes whenever it feels necessary to best pair with the beats.
“Take Me Apart” is lustful, and speaks about reconnecting with a lover. She sings, “Don’t say you’re in love until you learn to take me apart” indicating that in the heat of the moment, she is willing to throw all feelings and emotion out the window. This is something many young listeners can relate to as, given that this generation lives in “hookup culture,” and many value sex over love.
“Frontline” might sound familiar to you if you’re as much of a fan of HBO’s show “Insecure” as I am (#TeamIssa). It starts off slow and serene before building up, with Kelela’s voice as the main listening point until the beat drops. Here is where her voice transitions from smooth and slow to quick, breath-like notes. The overall composition grants it the classification of a “total bop.”
You might feel as if you have to adjust your headphones at the start of “Waitin’,” as it begins muffled and increasingly gets louder. Distortions may cause listeners to wonder if they might be tripping during “Onanon” and “Turn to Dust,” as Kelela’s voice is layered and manipulated so that it emits an effect of whispers and echoes creeping in and out of each of your headphones.
The violin in “Turn to Dust” is yet another pleasant surprise. These tracks take listeners on a sensory journey that may be confusing at first, but is still enjoyable to listen to.
Strong vocals shine through in “Blue Light,” despite the slight morphed techno aspect of Kelela’s voice as the instrumentals speed up. Untraditional club vibes come to mind throughout this track as Kelela seems to have done something completely new with the initial foundation of club music. You should listen to understand yourself.
Arguably one of the best tracks off of this project is “LMK,” where her true R&B, soulful voice shines. You’ll be poppin’ your shoulders, nodding your head, body-rolling and feeling it in move your body to dance in response to this auditory bliss.
Kelela deserves more appreciation for her sweet, vocal talent and production creativity. The best setting to jam out to this album is in your room getting ready to go out or in your PJ’s/underwear when you’re feeling cute.