Kehlani
While We Wait


3.5
great

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (132 Reviews)
February 24th, 2019 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dive inward and enjoy the haze

For the latter half of this decade, the prevailing term to describe popular music has been what I call “mood music.” Now, on a surface level, this phrase probably sounds too vague or generic to get my point across. But the term is actually referring to “vibing” music, which alludes to low-key R&B/hip-hop (often trap-inspired) jams that exude a darker, more sleepy feel. Even our biggest pop stars - from Ariana Grande to Zayn - have gradually been drawn to its orbit, and its influence has only grown with time. It’s not like I don’t understand why; a lot of popular music can be attributed to the national mood, and in the levels of division and social turmoil we’re at now, we’d might as well get some good binge-drinking music in the process.

Kehlani - for better or worse - is another artist working from this angle. She isn’t necessarily immersed in the trap environment that’s been spreading over pop music, but her smooth alternative R&B is at least in the same ballpark aesthetically. Unlike her previous album SweetSexySavage, which clocked in at over 58 minutes of material, While We Wait is a much more short and digestible offering. It’s a quick little mixtape that gives us a nice reel of erotic and romantic stories wrapped up in enveloping soulful hip-hop beats, almost like we’re voyeurs instead of mere listeners. The abundance of features only highlights this feeling, as if we’re hearing Kehlani and her male counterparts engage in back-and-forth banter like actual lovers.

For the most part, it adds up to an effective experience. On a musical - and especially vocal - level, the best way I can sum up While We Wait is if you crossed the brooding R&B-soul stylings of H.E.R. with the bass-boosted hip-hop/pop influences of Ariana Grande’s recent work. Kehlani doesn’t exactly stand out as a solo vocalist, but her voice works much better when harmonized and layered on top of these beats. Luckily, she and her producers already seemed to realize this. Right from the opener “Footsteps,” she’s constantly alternating between single takes and small bursts of multitracking, so there’s always some variety in the performances. “Nunya” explores this on a deeper level, setting Kehlani’s soulful croons and harmonized moans against a slower, substantially sexier beat that really wraps you in its atmosphere. The production work ties this all together nicely, having just enough gloss but also complementing it with many intricate details that you won’t catch the first time. I didn’t hear the subtle bounce of the basslines in “Morning Glory” the first time around, and I certainly didn’t hear feel the full impact of the dreamlike low-tempo crawl of “Feels” until I gave it repeated listens.

In fact, the best way While We Wait can be approached is as a “night time” album. It’s a great album to put on when you’re taking an evening stroll in the big city, or at home when you’re studying for that test you have tomorrow. It has such a chill vibe, but also imbued with enough urban flavor and attention to detail to extend slightly outside of the confines of that “mood music” tag I mentioned earlier. It ain’t a perfect album of course; it’s very short and arguably a bit unfinished, coming off more as foreshadowing for a future project than being an actual album proper. Plus, the features get a bit gratuitous and unneeded after a while. Did we really need four features on a nine-track record that only runs for a half-hour" Probably not. Still, if you’re a fan of this kind of dark low-key R&B, you could do much worse. Dive into this sea of slow beats and hazy synths with an open mind; you may not want to get out of the water for a while.



Recent reviews by this author
Sigrid Sucker PunchParamore Brand New Eyes
Kaleikr Heart of LeadAvril Lavigne Head Above Water
Ariana Grande Thank U, NextMaroon 5 Songs About Jane
user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
February 24th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. There's some pretty beautiful stuff here

WeepinnWillow
February 24th 2019


261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

one of the diamonds in the sea of horse shit that is modern pop

Digging: The Prodigy - The Fat of the Land

Lord(e)Po)))ts
February 24th 2019


41739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really only loved Crzy on the last unit but will check this

Digging: Edyth - Bare II

DivergentThinking
February 24th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is definitely better than Khelani's last album, mostly due to being more focused and less bloated

DivergentThinking
February 24th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, she's definitely a better artist to represent this whole low-key R&B movement than all the boring artists encompassing the "trap-soul" trend going on

WeepinnWillow
February 24th 2019


261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

she's better than 95% of modern R&B

DivergentThinking
February 24th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For sure. I hope she and H.E.R. end up being the ones who get more popular in the future

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 1st 2019


41739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah this is good

DivergentThinking
March 13th 2019


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Indeed



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy