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

Take Me Apart

Kelela

2017

Buy At Rough Trade
Take Me Apart
Album Summary

Take Me Apart is the debut studio album by American singer and songwriter Kelela. It was released on October 6, 2017, through Warp. Combining electronic music and R&B, the album was noted for its futuristic sound and its incorporation of various musical styles. Kelela worked on the album for four years with producers she had previously collaborated with on her previous releases, Cut 4 Me (2013) and Hallucinogen (2015). The album received widespread acclaim from music critics, many of whom commended its innovative production and Kelela's sharp songwriting and vocal delivery. It appeared on several publications' lists of the year's best albums. The album was supported by the singles "LMK", "Frontline", "Waitin" and "Blue Light".

Wikipedia

Rating

2.76

Votes

10933

Genres

  • Soul
  • Electronica

Reviews

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Mon Mar 21 2022
3

The production is lauded as being cutting edge and innovative, but this is from 2017 so I don't really understand why. If this was from 2007 I might be slightly more impressed. Perfect for mid-range clothing retailers who want music to make them appear hip while blending smoothly into the background.

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Wed Jun 28 2023
2

I’ve been to enough pitchfork music festivals (two, in 2009 and 2010, when the website was slightly less of a joke than it is today, *slightly*) to know a “Best New Album” when I hear it. Sometime during the second track, I thought to myself, “Pitchfork gave this Best New Music, didn’t they.” Since I was driving at the time, I couldn’t verify it on the spot, but once I got home, I did. Lo and behold, my suspicions were correct. This record was given Best New Album status over at Pitchfork. In fact, all of Kelela’s records have received that honor to date, which is no small feat. If only there was a way for me to monetize this useless skill of mine. Maybe I could go to bars and bet people that I can tell if a album got Pitchfork’s highest praise. They’d play me a song from a record and I’d say yes or no, like a parlor trick for aging hipsters. I think I could probably do pretty well at it, like as a side hustle, but at best, the audience for that type of bet is small. As usual, I digress. My point is, if your tastes typically align with Pitchfork’s, you’ll probably enjoy this record. It might be the Pitchforkiest record I’ve been assigned so far - sort of a retro-futuristic take on r&b with glitchy percussion and a healthy portion of synth pads. Experimental enough to not be totally mainstream, but mainstream enough not to alienate people who might usually be put off by experimental music - the Radiohead paradox.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
2

I tried to give this album my attention and absolutely could not. The sound was pleasant and I enjoyed the lyrics when I could focus on them but, without intense consentration, I would immediately drift off and be two more very similar sounding songs into the record. It is probably great and, if I get my hands on some adderall to keep me engaged, maybe someday I will fond out.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
2

Every track sounds exactly like the track before it. It's not bad, exactly. It's just like ... I already heard that. I don't need to hear it again, thank you.

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Wed Sep 01 2021
2

This is obviously a fairly recent addition to the mix, as the album is only from 2017 and has very few reviews. Is it an album I need to hear before I die? Absolutely not. I could have gone my whole life never knowing about Kelela and never been the worse for it. But I'm giving it a change here. Production is solid but musically the album doesn't stand out much. It's a bit samey and overly long and would have benefited from getting rid of a few tracks. Kelela has a nice enough voice, but it's over-tuned, like a lot of vocals of recent years. The album overall feels a little throwback, like I'm listening to 1990s R&B. Strong influence of Velvet Rope era Janet is evident. I'm not really hearing the supposed futurist vibe of the music, at least not anything that many other artists haven't done before her. Maybe it just isn't my genre. Fave songs: Turn to Dust, Enough, Bluff

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Thu Sep 30 2021
4

I really struggled with what to give this one- over two listens it was cartwheeling between two and four stars. Contemporary R&B isn't in my wheelhouse so it was difficult to work out what I was looking for, and if I was enjoying it. One thing that grabbed me straight away was the lush production. Drums are subtle, high-pass filtered, underwater. Layers of ambience (waves, a car unlocking and driving off, vocalisations) never feel overdone. Kelela's vocals shimmer and ripple, layered to stunning effect across many of the songs. On a second listen I started to appreciate all of this much more. There are many brilliant sonic touches to spend more time with, and even before paying attention to the lyrics I blushed at the sensuality of it all like the prudish white boy I am. This is a very subtle album and didn't hit immediately, but there's a lot that hooked and intrigued me, making me very likely to spend more time "taking it apart". For that reason, I'm giving the benefit of foresight with four stars.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
5

Et allez, c'était évident que la communauté de ce générateur était complètement demeurée. Moi je mets 5 sur 5 et je vous vois venir les fans de post punk métal de mes couilles avec vos clébards pleins de boue et vos goûts musicaux dégueulasses. Sachez que vous êtes dans l'erreur, et plus généralement dans la saleté, dans l'insalubrité.

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Tue Aug 17 2021
3

despite the incredible production, i found the vocals to be generic and bland.

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Sun Aug 22 2021
3

an average modern R&B album. The production is nice

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Fri Oct 22 2021
5

I really enjoyed this album. I'm a huge R&B fan, but not usually into electronic music. I don't really know what I was expecting but I was into it. It has the right amount of smooth R&B and the right amount of electronica for most tracks. My highlights from the album were Frontline, Waitin, Jupiter, Better, Bluff and Altadena.

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Thu Oct 28 2021
4

First of all, the video for Frontline is worth the price of admission right there. I forget about videos nowadays, but there are still good ones. This one is unique and of course accompanied with a cool song. Ok, this is the most modern album I've been given yet. I've never heard of Kelela, and I am pleasantly surprised by the whole thing. Black, solo female R&B is not usually my go-to music genre, but it's mostly because I just don't have exposure. I think Kelela is a force! Her beats are so complex, especially with headphones. She knows how beautiful she is, and she exploits it in the dreamy, fantasy sensibility she sells with her lyrics, but her music is timeless. There is a tremendous mix of instrumentation going on. On one hand, there's that mellow Mariah Carey sound that calls back to the 90s/early 2000s, but then she layers on so much more that makes it sound like new music but also classic. Pretty hard to tail. Waitin' is a song that embodies what I'm saying perfeclty. Right now, she is focused on that youth, attraction, love, breakups, identity, which is as relatable as things can get. I'm excited to see where her style goes as she grows. There's a bit of a lull in the middle of the album when you hit Enough, Jupiter, and Better. But there's some really cool sounds in those sounds too and some optimism that is nice to hear about how life has beauty everywhere. Things get back on track with LMK though. I feel cooler having listened to her.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
4

Surprised me this one, a really lovely, soulful listen.

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Thu Sep 02 2021
1

this is shit. the singing never fit with the backing track. every track was like she put on some music in the background and then just warbled around on top with no concern for what the track was doing.

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Mon Jan 09 2023
1

What a slog. So much of it sounds alike and I was bored to tears. I don't get why it's here. It doesn't seem like there's anything really remarkable here. She isn't a terrible singer and the production is good, but I was begging for it to end by track 3.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
5

Fantastic R&B album. Love the influences of other genres on the music, fun to listen to

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

Perfect and innovative RnB. Still sounds very fresh 5 years later. A favorite of mine.

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Wed May 29 2024
4

No. 188/1001 Frontline 4/5 Waitin 4/5 Take Me Apart 4/5 Enough 4/5 Jupiter 3/5 Better 4/5 LMK 4/5 Truth or Dare 3/5 S.O.S. 3/5 Blue Light 4/5 Onanon 4/5 Turn To Dust 4/5 Bluff 4/5 Altadena 4/5 Average: 3,79 Thoroughly enjoyable listen.

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Wed Jul 03 2024
2

So “Take Me Apart” by Kelela was fairly well-done, and I appreciate the fact that she didn’t talk much about “da club”, or how she was going to be “spitting fire” with her lyrics… I also think she is a fine vocalist, and was easy to listen to… That said, if there hadn’t been the song title changes as I listened on TIDAL – I would not have known, as it really did sound like one, big, long connected song… Like I said, it was well-executed – she does have a unique voice, and I like the electronica/R&B futuristic blend to her sound HOWEVER, there was almost no diversity to be found on this album – anywhere, as all the songs sounded like clones of each other… If I had to choose 1 song that was a bit better/different from the others, I’d probably choose “Onanon”, but not much more than that… Definitely a 2, but not much more in my book…

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Fri Nov 11 2022
5

This is a great album, it is modern and has a lot of interesting sounds and lyrics. The right combination of electronic music and a kinda pop style of singing

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Mon Nov 21 2022
5

This is fantastic! Had not heard of the artist or heard her music. Great writing, outstanding performances...she's got it. Very, very cool sound.

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Wed Jul 19 2023
5

Loved this! I'm old, but I really liked the late 2010s sound, that kind of dark synth influenced by that OneOhTrix guy. But her voice adds another layer.

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Mon Sep 04 2023
5

Wow this one actually blew me away on first listen when I wasn't expecting that much. I had never heard of Kelela besides her feature on "A Seat at the Table" by Solange only realizing she was featured on it in the middle of listening. I don't think this album is perfect but it's the most I've felt while listening to an album in a long long time, first time I've felt this way to an album during these 1001 listens. The vocals, the production, the lyrics, the vocals, the vocals, and the VOCALS on this are all in credible and I cannot recommend enough. Favorite Tracks: Frontline, Take Me Apart, Enough, Jupiter, Better, LMK, Blue Light, Onanon, Bluff, Altadena

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Sun Oct 15 2023
5

Incredible, cannot believe I have never heard of this or her

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Mon Nov 20 2023
5

Wow this is a sexy, glittering, ethereal album. The soundscapes are very open, eno inspired synth atmospheres.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
5

Great. Did not think it would be this good. But it genuinely is very good.

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Wed Dec 20 2023
5

one of my all-time favorites

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Thu Dec 28 2023
5

Like I'm in the sexiest strip club and the stripper loves me, for real this time!!

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Mon Jan 15 2024
5

Beautiful songwriting, vocal performance and production! This shows that there are still ways of being experimental without losing track of form, and that RnB and Electronica can provide sublime musical beauty.

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Mon Mar 11 2024
5

this is genuinely one of the best albums ive ever heard

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Mon Apr 08 2024
5

More people should be talking about Kelela. It’s rare these days to find a debut so melodically rich and self-assured.

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Fri Apr 12 2024
5

Always a great day to get an album you know nothing about and being pleasently surprised. The production on this album is insane. No wonder it got put on the list. And the album just has bangers after bangers, though it's slightly too long but that's just a nitpick

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Sun May 26 2024
5

I really jammed with this back when it was released, especially "LMK," which I definitely thought needed to a bigger hit than it was. Still think it's great, a very immersive album with some interesting sonic ideas.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
4

Je n'ai pas le temps de m'attarder sur cette review mais je vous présente à tous mes salutations distinguées.

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Thu Sep 02 2021
4

Oh I'll take you apart Kelela.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
4

This was a slow burn for me. I didn’t care for the start but the back half is smooth.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

Cover, Stimmung, boudoir‘esque Intimität erinnert mich an Wild Beasts’ 2016er Album „Boy King“. Anderes Genre natürlich; eben Soul jedoch durchaus davon ferneres Sound Design (Two Step & Breakbeat, weite Soundscapes) wirkt Kelela angenehm anti-generisch. Ihre Stimme nahezu immer unverfremdet und echt. Eine Seltenheit. Imposante Synergie aus Stimmeinsatz und Klanggebilde („Enough“). Gegen Ende wird leider arg geschwächelt. Kathedralische 3.8

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

A 2017 album supposedly in top 1001 ever made & i've never heard of it? Oh no, not more dull R&B. So I thought at first. But I listened & listened again. Big electronic/cross genre. It's really very good & well produced.

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Sun Nov 07 2021
4

Rating: 8/10 Best songs: Frontline, Onanon

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

Good r&b and phenominal production. Im not an expert in this type of music, but been exposing myself more over the last few years and this is just so good.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
4

un peu de sweet rnb pour ne pas penser au fait que je fais des tests unitaires

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Thu Mar 24 2022
4

🥺🥺🥺🤧🤧🤧💖💖💖

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Thu Apr 14 2022
4

first listen definitely unique

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Thu Apr 14 2022
4

I'm not sure entirely what to make of the ambient-inflected R&B of Take Me Apart. The vocals are especially syrupy, but even Arca's production stays in the background, low-key but lush. But Enough was gorgeous enough and the sequencing of long and short tracks engaging enough I don't really care where it sits in a more informed listener's canon. It works as a measuring stick for me.

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Wed Apr 20 2022
4

Really good album. Has a great sound.

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Thu Apr 21 2022
4

Had never heard of this artist, and this album was a pleasant surprise. A couple bad tracks, but some great work overall.

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Thu May 05 2022
4

I struggled with this album a bit. It sounds fine, both the music and the vocal are good and they blend well together. Listening to this album without context, I felt that it was a bit generic. Not bad at all, but it didn't sound particularly revolutionary for 2017. The Wikipedia entry shed a little more light on it, noting it's fusion of R&B and EDM, as well as other musical styles. I feel like EDM has been a part of R&B for a long time, but I don't know enough about the genre to say that definitively. In the end, I like this album, but I don't know that it's super groundbreaking. I think that the years since its release have altered my perception of it. At the same time, this album was released after FKA Twig's EP, which was much more experiemental in terms of electronic music in R&B. In the end I think it's good enough to give 4/5, but it's definitely close to 3/5 4/5

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Mon Jun 20 2022
4

Mislila sam da ce mi se svidit po coveru i po tom što piše RnB. I je. I to jako. Produkcija je top notch.

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Fri Jul 15 2022
4

My kind of R&B album. Really felt the groove the whole way through. I think this gal is going places!

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Mon Aug 15 2022
4

What a great album! Certainly a breath of fresh air--- "LMK," "Onanon," "Blue Light" and "Frontline" are probably my favorite tracks on here.

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Wed Aug 17 2022
4

So excited they included this album. I found it in the new section back when it came out in 2017, gave it a try, and was blown away with the first song in how good it was. Kicks off the album in a perfect way. The rest of the songs are a great blend of interesting beats both slow and thoughtful. It's been raining to day and I listened to this by the window as it rained and it was a perfect soundtrack.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
4

Never heard of her. Glad I have now as I enjoyed this quite a bit. I didn’t even know I liked R&B.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

Sounds kinda old and kinda new at the same time. Kelela has a great voice which sounds mercifully natural for an album recorded in the last decade. Stylistically the album doesn't fit well in any category. You can imagine these songs getting remixed into any number of electronic genres. For my tastes I think I would like to see the material contorted even further into rougher electronic versions but I understand why the choices were made to let Kelela's songs retain their origins in R&B.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

Fine R&B album. Not usually my thing, but I definitely didn't hate this.

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Thu Sep 29 2022
4

My main complaint with soul is that it's often one dimensional and needs to be fused with other styles. Kelela does that very well with a unique fusion with electronic. I still have some challenges keeping interested since the tempo especially during the versus remains homogeneous. But it's a good attempt to solve my problem so it gets +1. Cover photo doesn't do any harm either.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

This was good never heard of kelela before

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Wed Oct 12 2022
4

I'm just starting my 1001 journey and up till now I have felt the bar has been set very low. For me, I wouldn't expect your standard meat and three veg to be good enough to make the list. I'm looking for something that stands out. For the most part this album deserves to be on the list, and is an album I would buy. I will certainly be checking out Kelela's other albums.

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Fri Nov 04 2022
4

This is an exceptional r&b album. Not only is Kelela a beautiful singer will a natural delivery, but the production backs her up effortlessly with swirling soundscapes and forward-thinking electronic beats. This is yet another album with production credits from Arca, who you can also hear on the FKA twigs album LP1 and Kanye West's Yeezus. All this to say, there is a clear trend of producer Arca working with talented artists to make superb musical works. But enough about Arca, let's focus back on Kelela. It's clear that Kelela has clear artistic vision that is both modern and timeless. Blending elements of contemporary r&b with art pop and electronic dance music makes Kelela's sound unlike anything else right now. The overall album flows nicely and has a mellow, sensual sound to it overall. Even if it does meander a little too long, the end product is stunning. Easily the most enjoyable album this week.

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Fri Nov 18 2022
4

Really good, very modern and polished, sounds expensive and lush.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
4

Också ett helt otreholigt album!

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Thu Feb 02 2023
4

Opção formidável para escutar nas noites que pedem o clima com batidas eletrônicas e voz envolvente de R&B.

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Wed Feb 08 2023
4

Enjoyed this a lot, and although I don't particularly remember any individual tracks something caught ear every few minutes. Definitely one to come back to.

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Sun Feb 19 2023
4

7/10 the production was very nice I liked how they were always trying to keep things interesting not a huge fan of this genre, but it’s still very nice

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Wed Mar 08 2023
4

Ambient electronic RnB isn't usually my cup of tea, but loved this. Perhaps because that my cortisol levels are off the chart at the moment. Whatever the reason, this record is chilled, melodic and innovative. It's super relaxing yet also engaging. The perfect delivery of it's artistic vision. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: LMK Date listened: 07/03/23

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Fri Mar 24 2023
4

Pretty cool stuff, I'm not usually TOO into R&B, but the production here is interesting enough to keep my attention, and she's got a great voice. Gonna try to come back to this and check out her other music soon. Gonna give this the ol' 3.75 rounded up because my initial feeling is that I like this more than a lot of my other 3s lol.

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Wed Apr 12 2023
4

People are mean about this album, but I like it well enough. Good background music for getting my work done.

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Mon May 01 2023
4

This is pretty far removed from what I usually listen to, but I very much enjoyed it for background listening at work. In terms of expanding my understanding and appreciation of different styles of music, this one was definitely a success. Also, this is surely the sexiest album cover we've had so far.

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Thu May 04 2023
4

Really liked this one - can’t believe I’d not heard of her before!

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Fri May 19 2023
4

I really enjoyed the electronic R&B vibe and Kelela's soulful voice. Better and Blue Light stand out for me. The music blends together a bit, but it seems like great background music that you can play over and over.

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Mon May 29 2023
4

Pretty good, reminded me a lot of that Solange album on this list. 7/10

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Mon May 29 2023
4

7/10. Pretty good, would've scored it a little higher but the back half started to wear on me a bit. Some of the songs felt just a bit too samey. Still, a very good, calm sounding album all in all.

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Sun Jun 25 2023
4

best way to describe this is lush; from the electic selection of beats, production choices, and vocal performance. best tracks: frontline, lmk, take me apart

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Wed Jul 12 2023
4

Remember this coming out and being an album you could slap on and listen front to back. It still has that quality. The production is subtle, then bombastic and then simple again creating this dubby space for Kelela's sweet little voice to fill. Lyrically it could be more complex, but then again this is a RNB album and not a PHD. Very solid four. Recommend her most recent album too.

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Mon Jul 31 2023
4

sultry…sexy…smooth 😩😎kinda long doe

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Thu Aug 03 2023
4

While it is not my preferred genre, there was no song on the album that I disliked. 3 - 4/5, still in doubt 3/5 as I will probably not play this album again afterwards 4/5 as it succeeded in selling me a genre I'm not a fan of

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Wed Aug 16 2023
4

A funky and beautiful piece of r&b. Kelela is full-voiced and sounds pitch perfect with every thumping track. Amazing production guides this one to a satisfying finish line.

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Mon Aug 21 2023
4

Mjög smúþ, kósí, góð rödd.

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Sun Sep 03 2023
4

Had never heard of the artist and was really impressed with the album throughout.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
4

Listened to a few songs. Liked it a lot. Put in favs

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Wed Oct 04 2023
4

Interesting and avant-garde. Not something I would usually listen to.

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Sun Oct 15 2023
4

Really surprising R&B piece. Had not heard it before, but very happy with it. I think it is missing a little something to pump it up for me though.

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Sun Oct 15 2023
4

Delightfully futuristic R'n'B, with great vocals. This is a few duller tracks away from a strong 5 stars.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
4

Finally some contemporary stuff! And it's an album I'm quite familiar with. Love this one and jammed it a lot when it came out. "Frontline" is still probably my favorite song by her.

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Wed Oct 25 2023
4

This one honestly surprised me. Production on it was fantastic, not really one for R&B but this came off kinda synthwave like? Cool album.

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Thu Oct 26 2023
4

Hmmmm, kinda the same ballpark as FKA Twigs, but I think Kelela suffers in that comparison. Or it might just be that I'm a lot more familiar with FKA Twigs... 🤔 Pleasant enough - I think it might benefit from a listen with good headphones to catch all the electronic stuff going on. Fave tracks - "Waitin" and "Onanon"

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Thu Oct 26 2023
4

This certainly caught me by surprise. Having no context for who Kelala is her voice just shines bright through the whole album. Fave track: Take Me Apart. Certainly worth another listen.

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Mon Oct 30 2023
4

cool slightly experimental r&b album will have to listen again

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