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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

KIWANUKA

Michael Kiwanuka

2019

Buy At Rough Trade
KIWANUKA
Album Summary

Kiwanuka is the third studio album by English singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka. It was released on 1 November 2019 through Polydor and Interscope Records. The album won the 2020 Mercury Prize, and was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 63rd Grammy Awards.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.76

Votes

11201
Genres
Soul
Folk

Reviews

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Tue Oct 26 2021
4

Wow! How refreshing to listen to something that lacks a clear definition of genre while being impressively unpredictable. The sound ranges from 60s rock, to ambience, to blues and jazz, sounding classic and contemporary at the same time. Massive respect to him.

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Wed Dec 21 2022
5

Hot dang, this is fantastic! One of the best things this list has introduced me to, for sure. Love the atmosphere - love the journey it takes you on, and the way the tracks follow on from each other. Genre and time period distort and blend. It often seems like I'm being reminded of music I can't quite place. Great stuff. Fave track - "You Ain't the Problem" is a great opener. "Piano Joint (This Kind of Love)" and its intro are awesome. Really, though, this feels like a whole album experience, rather than picking out individual tracks...

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

This album was totally out of left field for me, but wow what a good surprise. This is a contender for my favorite album on my list so far. It is an absolute masterpiece

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Tue Nov 02 2021
4

NEW BLOOD! Let's start here: I truly believe it's a great idea that new albums are added to this list every few years. Hell, I'm up for anything that will remove some of the far-too-many Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen albums that populate the list. My concern is that the additions are only chosen among recent releases. They never go back and reassess some previously released albums that missed the cut originally; albums that have held up or been given a second life in later years. And yes, I'm still beating the drum for getting the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, and a Bob Seger or Jackson Browne album on this list. The other concern about adding only the recent albums could fall under the "Can't see the forest from the trees" argument. The most glaring example of this is Taylor Swift's "Evermore" being included over "Folklore" with these new additions. It's not a stretch to say that Folklore is widely considered the better of the two Swift albums released in 2020. In fact, Evermore was almost an afterthought. It's a great album, but it almost feels like a bonus album of songs that missed the cut from being included on Folklore. I mean, Folklore won the Album of the Year Grammy for crying out loud, a distinction which along deserves at least consideration on this list. Which brings us to the album in question by Michael Kiwanuka, an artist I hate to admit I knew nothing about until today. And Good Lord is this a great fucking album. It's a well deserved new entry on the list. But I'm already hearing things like, "Yes, it's remarkable, but the album he did before it called 'Love & Hate' is the true masterpiece." And true to form, Spotify played me Kiwanuka's most popular track when this album ended ("Cold Little Heart", which gained notoriety for being the theme song of that HBO series "Big Little Lies" that was only worth watching for Laura Dern embracing her batshit crazy side). I hear a lot of Stevie Wonder here, along with some Bill Withers and Leon Bridges. Unfortunately, there's just a little too much Danger Mouse. Kiwanuka doesn't need that kind of karma. I'll be spending more time in Michael Kiwanuka's world. Not even Danger Mouse can keep me away.

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Tue Jan 11 2022
5

A beautifully passionate indie rock album, with gorgeous instrumentation and captivating lyrics. I love the guitar tones, driving basslines, and how Michael Kiwanuka manages to breathe life into topics with like perseverance, love, and social injustice. BEST TRACKS: You Ain't The Problem, Rolling, Hero, Hard To Say Goodbye WORST TRACKS: N/A

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Thu Dec 02 2021
5

Upbeat, epic, dramatic. Both modern and retro. Is thus the Big Little Lies intro song guy? Each one of these songs seemed well though out and composed, had a beginning middle and end. I’m impressed. Not a bad song, so I guess it’s a 5.

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Sat Jan 08 2022
5

What a surprising musical journey. Beautiful vocals and grandiose music pieces.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

One of my favorite albums of 2020 – Kiwanuka's voice and guitar work are unique but comforting. Modern blues for the soul.

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Wed Nov 24 2021
5

68 KIWANUKA -Michael Kiwanuka 14 tracks Wow!Face with open mouth I will excuse his lazyness in album name choice because this is good, VERY good. I will listen to this again, (& again & again), but I will also listen to his other stuff. Amazing voice, strings, variation, proper album Thumbs up 5/5

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Sat Feb 05 2022
5

This is a very interesting album. In many ways it feels very retro - like parts of this came straight out of the 70s. But those parts are fused with some very modern influences. I found it quite remarkable. The introspective lyrics give you a lot to think about. The album is lush, at times exotic. It feels very personal. I loved listening to it in solitude - a private escape. I was going to list some of the highlights for me, but this really was an experience that works so well as an album I don’t think I want to call out any specific tracks. What an amazing journey!

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Fri Oct 22 2021
4

I thought his was tremendous. A very distinct voice, but stylistically hard to pin down. Soulfully performed and deeply personal, and just very good

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Pleased to see this as album number 1, one I've enjoyed a lot but not listened to in ages.

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Sat Jan 22 2022
5

He is so thoughtful, and continues to get better. Voice smooth as butter. A soft exterior with a razor sharp edge, sucks you in and then hits you with some truth.

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Sat Jan 29 2022
5

Was not expecting this. No idea what I was Expecting but I was expecting it to be a bit shit. This is not shit, this is antishit. He'd do a very good bond theme tune.

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Mon Jul 04 2022
5

I'd never heard of Michael Kiwanuka before and so I had zero expectations or preconceived notions... Wow - this is great. Expansive yet accessible; harkens back to a lot of 70s music with its melodies and chord structure, but all in/with a modern sound. Multi-instruments, great vocals, varied rhythms and tempos - this is a treat. I figured this would take a few listens to fully settle in and I'm 3 times through already (got this on a weekend) - even after one pass I was really intrigued/impressed and will be keeping this in the library...hell, I'm enjoying this so much I can't say anything remotely negative about it - it's not even too long in the age of wayyyy too long albums. I guess I just talked this one into a 5. Love it. 9/10 5 stars.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

never heard of this album glad to have found it. generally chill beats with some drive

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Sat Nov 20 2021
5

VERY pleasantly surprised by this album, wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this entire album, and have never heard of this artist, nor was it a genre I expected to enjoy this much.

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Sat Jan 08 2022
5

Veel afwisseling in sfeer tussen de nummers. Kalmerende instrumentale stukjes, mooi gezongen. Heel goed album!

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Fri Jan 28 2022
5

A terrific album, worthy of winning the Mercury Prize. I really enjoyed the variety of styles represented on the CD.

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Sat Jul 16 2022
5

Best Song: You Ain't The Problem. Incredible mix of retro-sounding soul and modern mixing elements. Immediately loved it. Close second to "I've Been Dazed". Worst Song: None. Overall: This one really surprised me. I knew nothing about it going it, and it completely blew me away. It was soulful yet modern, with beautiful lead vocals and what feels like a perfect mix built around those vocals. One of my favourite personal discoveries from the list thus far.

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

When you hear the first minute of the first song you know this is going to be different. The horns and the raucous background chatter & choir – the mix of progressive soul, thoughtful, heartfelt lyrics and a sophisticated modern, yet retro sound. The production & arrangements we owe to Danger Mouse and Inflo, who I notice, this time round, share the song writing credits as well. I like the way that one song mixes into the next, giving the sense that this is an album verse a collection of songs. I’ve liked MK’s earlier material and this LP was missing the obvious hits, but overall, it’s a more solid beginning-to-end effort with a greater variety of sounds and textures. I thank MC for bringing it to my attention back in 2020.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
5

I am here for everything Michael Kiwanuka does. The way he uses percussion to build energy, his haunting voice, it's all gold.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

That was glorious. I had never heard of the artist or the album and I’ve listened through it five times already in two days. Clearly I’ve got a Jones for recent Brit soul. More specifically, the pathos evoked from Kiwanuka’s guitar evokes an emo-tinged Hendrix. I loved it.

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Thu Mar 23 2023
5

A big reason of why i decided to start the 1001 journey was the chance to discover something that even as a self proclaimed music aficionado i may have missed. "Hidden gems" if you will. The kind of record that after a single listening session can make me scratch my head and think "how did i not listen to this before?" Well, i'm just glad to have found Kiwanuka now.

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Mon Jul 24 2023
5

This album is what I was looking for from this project. I love this album. I love everything about this album. I had never heard anything from the album, didn't know a thing about the artist, didn't know the genre, didn't know anything, and what a guy was a beautiful pleasant surprise. The vibe is outstanding. I could name any song from the album and point it out as a stand out, but for right now I'll say 'I've been dazed'. At times there was a 60s aesthetic, some beautiful orchestra, amazing vocals and wonderful instrumentation. This is an album I was revisit. It's a solid FIVE.

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Sun May 15 2022
5

Welcome to Black Floyd, the group formed following the dismissal of founding member Syd Barrett, and replaced by Michael Kiwanuka. Oh, and that other guy, David something or other, starts with a G, I think. Everything I love about 60-70s Pink Floyd is offered on 'Kiwanuka': heavily (and I do mean heavily) distorted acid rock guitar riffs (complete with wah wah), jazzy relaxed drums and bass, luscious synth aural baths. Several of the songs also featured some simply inspired orchestral arrangements, even adding a pinch of that same middle eastern string sound the Beatles so often used during the Sgt Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour period. This was an album carefully crafted with the intention of being played in its entirety. Individually, the songs themselves take their time developing, giving the feel of taking a stroll with the band, meandering musically. Indeed, several of these songs could have continued to play on. I was disappointed when they began to fade. And I honestly found myself proclaiming the next song better than the one before it, until arriving at the end and wondering how it could possibly get any better… and then it did. ‘Light’ is just incredible, in every conceivable way. And holding it all together, Michael Kiwanuka’s confident, and natural vocals, never forced, with a splash of African/Jamaican dialect? They ring true and clear, as do the thoughtful lyrics- lots of loneliness and longing, the struggle to retain one’s pride, and yet not asking for pity, only love. ‘Ive Been Dazed’ surprisingly turned into a gospel number, with the Lord saying ‘Time is a healer.’ The same lyric, incidentally, Kiwanuka had already used in the first song, ‘You Ain’t the Problem.’ And that hope seems to elevate the entire sound of the LP. 'Kiwanuka' certainly hovers above the common ground a few feet. I enjoyed 'Kiwanuka' thoroughly, will listen to it again. Released only in 2019, this bodes well for the future of good rock and soul music.

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Sun Jul 24 2022
5

So good, so replayable. New album when? Best track: Hero

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

I know Michael Kiwanuka as the guy who performs the Big Little Lies theme (my favorite show), so I’m totally psyched to hear this album. The production of this album created such a rich and full sound. There’s a clear mix of influences — gospel, rock, electronic music. Beyond all of these specifics, this is a beautiful album that explores love, violence, intolerance, and other themes becoming increasingly salient in the modern Western world. No two songs sound alike. Kiwanuka’s voice is stunningly mournful, pensive, thoughtful, and strong. The themes of this record could probably be construed as political, but I think that would be a serious reduction of the main messages here. Kiwanuka points to the violent intolerance that goes on today, calling for a love-oriented rearticulating of our social order. Not at all political but simple truths. This album is the sound of the times. I’m glad to have heard it, and I will definitely listen again, recommend to others, and keep up with what Michael Kiwanuka is doing today!

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

Its incredible and a great example of why I'm doing this, never heard of him and I'm on my second playthrough of this album already easy 5

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Wed Sep 07 2022
5

Joyful modern soul with a great voice and a socially meaningful inspiration. Something I would never seek out, but glad it came my way

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

You Ain't The Problem- 10/10 Rolling- 10/10 I've Been Dazed- 10/10 Piano Joint (Intro)- 8/10 Piano Joint- 9/10 Another Human Being- 8/10 Living In Denial- 9/10 Hero (Intro)- 9/10 Hero- 9/10 Hard To Say Goodbye- 9/10 Final Days- 10/10 Loving The People- 10/10 Solid Ground- 10/10 Light- 9/10 KIWANUKA- 9/10

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Tue Sep 20 2022
5

First song and I’m already loving this. What a great album! I got Black Pumas vibes and just overall really loved everything that was done here. Surprised he hadn’t come up before in my listening.

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Wed Sep 28 2022
5

Beautiful jazzy, melodic, heartfelt album; The melodies make you endulge in nostalgic and memorable feelings, jazzy, cinematic, grande You aint the problem, Piano Joint Combo, Hero, Solid Ground

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

Modern classic. Beautifully written, played, sung, produced and sequenced. Some obvious classic influences - Marvin Gaye and Hendrix - but carried lightly

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Wed Oct 05 2022
5

That was terrific. Thanks to Alex for creating a tool that brings unexpected music to my computer each day!

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Mon Aug 07 2023
5

This feels so classic and so fresh all at the same time! His voice is so beautiful and warm and the instrumentation is so full. I love seeing stuff on here that is more recent.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
4

A very pleasant surprise. Funky, soulful, and Radiohead-esque.

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Sat Jan 29 2022
4

"KIWANUKA" said the snake as it slithered down the slide. "KIWANUKA" read the speaker as she looked away and sighed. "KIWANUKA" screamed the boys as they marched along with pride. "KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA" "KIWANUKA" caught the eye of the runaway bride. "KIWANUKA" in the mind of the tragic suicide. "KIWANUKA" grips the jury as the witness spills their lies. "KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA,KIWANUKA" "KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA " "KIWANUKA" says the congregation listening to the Pope. "KIWANUKA" fills the priest as he unbuttons his robe. "KIWANUKA" fears the choir boy ready for his probe. "KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA " (Whispering) "KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA" "KIWANUKA" cries the girl as she buckles to her knees. "KIWANUKA" from the rapist as he calls her a tease. "KIWANUKA" oh the horror, as he watches her bleed. "KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA, KIWANUKA "

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Wed Jun 14 2023
4

I don't really feel like I had any expectations going into this album, but if I had, this album would have stomped on them! KIWANUKA defies any genre specifics -- it's a little bit folk, a little bit soul, a little bit jazz, a little bit blues, a little bit rock, a little bit pop, a little bit contemporary, and a little bit classic. This is a truly unique addition to the project. Regardless of the genre on any given song, Michael Kiwanuka's vocals are consistently soulful and perfectly gritty throughout, and most of the tracks feel a tad bit ethereal, giving the entire album somewhat of a hypnotic quality. I'm glad for the chance to experience this album! I was captivated by this unique addition throughout the entire playthrough!

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Tue Oct 10 2023
3

Great opening track. Love the obvious nod to his culture and heritage. Soulful and soaring. Hero is my favourite track. The interludes are usually a gimic I dislike but are used well here.

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Mon Nov 01 2021
2

Has all the Inflo hallmarks except the one where even the peaks have been smoothed out. I noticed few specifics but enough generalities to know a) it's not a hook-fest even though it's plenty varied, and b) it's not wallpaper music even though it's plenty soothing. That's interesting enough for me to hedge a 2.

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Sun May 14 2023
2

Not a bad album by any means, just not my thing. Liked a couple of tracks, but some felt boring. I can see how it garnered critical acclaim.

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

Мед и шоколадное молоко

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Gorgeous orchestration with space for powerful vocals and interesting production accents

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Thu Dec 30 2021
5

This album is a gem! Hero and You Ain't the problem are so damn good. could listen to this one all day.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
5

Thought that this was interesting a nd a great listen all the way through. Will definitely be going back.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

Don’t hesitate Time heals the pain You ain’t the problem

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Fri Jan 28 2022
5

Absolutely loved. Soulful, reminded me a bit of Leon Bridges for the vibe

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Sat Jan 29 2022
5

Well, well, well, this was a pleasant surprise. I had been aware of Michael Kiwanuka but I was expecting this to be a soppy great wet lettuce of an album. I had assumed he peddled watered-down mainstream "soul" which would be none of my business. How wrong I was. Google tells me it is Danger Mouse produced which explains the epic panoramic production. There's more than a bit of Bill Withers buried in the album's DNA but it is still very much its own thing. It's modern soul on a grand scale and I will shortly be purchasing a copy, this one is a keeper. Well done 1,001 Albums Generator, a big thumbs up for you.

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Sat Feb 05 2022
5

What an absolute treat. Fantastic. FANTASTIC!

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Sat Feb 05 2022
5

I didn't know what to expect here, but it was splendid! There was a sublime flow to the tracks and almost every track just grabbed me and pulled me in...some kind of funky, some kind of jazzy, some nice slow jam. It kept me interested in hearing what would come next.

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Sat Feb 05 2022
5

I loved this album that was both so enjoyable and so meaningful to listen to.

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Mon Feb 07 2022
5

wow! a new refreshing sound!

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Mon Feb 07 2022
5

De los mejores descubrimientos.. en años!

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

What a pleasant surprise, I have read about him but never listened to an album before. Today I listened to this album three times. And shared it with a bunch of people as well.

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

This is album is so sooo beautiful! The combination of soul and avant-garde is downright heavenly!

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Thu Mar 10 2022
5

A comprehensive, intriguing, soulful, masterpiece? I don't know a masterpiece when I hear it but this might be one. It gave me a feeling of awe as I listened, like I was consuming something far bigger than myself. That is thanks in part to the power of his voice and the elegant use of the instruments and backing vocals. Everything feels big and bold. A really wonderful album; give me more Kiwanuka!

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Sat Mar 12 2022
5

Bon j'ai liké plus de la moitié des titres ça part sur un 5.

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Fri Mar 25 2022
5

I really enjoyed this album and artist! I will be listening to him again.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
5

Liked the album, very groovy rhythms and vocals

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

Never heard of this guy, but absolutely loved the sound and album.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
5

This is my favorite in a while! Wow this was so good. I loved how intoxicating the music and guitar parts were. So beautiful and tragically underrated.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
5

This was completely unexpected and utterly delightful. Michael Kiwanuka seems like the British answer to contemporary American artists like Gary Clark Jr. and Leon Bridges and I'm not mad at that. The musicianship is top-notch, the songwriting is excellent, and the production quality is fantastic. I have nothing negative to say. Everything about this album was enjoyable.

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Thu May 05 2022
5

Really enjoyed it, maybe just in a generous mood today, but it was quite good.

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Fri Jun 10 2022
5

This is one of the most enjoyable new albums that I've heard in a while. I guess if I had to categorize it, I'd call it psychedelic soul. You can definitely hear influences of Pink Floyd alongside Marvin Gaye and the Beatles here. Kiwanika's voice is beautiful on this album and the songwriting is strong as well as the production. This album has been on repeat for a few days now and I can't wait to check out the rest of his discography.

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Mon Jun 27 2022
5

Kiwanuka é incrível. Esse álbum rivaliza com Love & Hate sobre qual é a melhor obra desse monstro contemporâneo.

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Sun Jul 10 2022
5

Well that was lovely. Soulful, intricate and elegant.

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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

I had never heard of this album but I definitely enjoyed it and am going to listen to it again.

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Sat Jul 16 2022
5

Never would have shown up in my music wheel house, but I am so glad it did. Immediately favorited it and downloaded it for later.

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Mon Jul 25 2022
5

This one really took me by surprised. My experience with the newest albums on this list has been pretty negative so far. The album cover also didn't look too promising to me and I didn't like the beginning of the first track too much either... but the sheer quality of this record pushed those preconceptions and first impressions straight out the window. This is a wonderful album full of feeling and delicate beauty. After the first spin, I had to give it a second spin free from negative preconceptions and loved it. Now I'm listening to his 2016 record and loving that one too.

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Mon Aug 08 2022
5

4.5 stars, beautiful albums. Upbeat stuff has Beck vibes, slower stuff Hozier or Sam Smith. Pleasant listen all the way through but standouts are "You Ain't the Problem", "Rolling", "Light"

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Kind of an odd contemporary from across the pond to "Awaken, My Love" in a way. I enjoyed every moment of this.

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

1st track is a banger, excellent album

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

This was great! Would listen again.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
5

It's like Zero 7, the Gorillaz, and Pink Floyd had a baby.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
5

phenomenal. soul so thick you could eat it with a spoon

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