Always authentically cool, Kehlani’s straight-talking demeanour hasn’t gone anywhere and is ever so apparent in the singer’s third album ‘Blue Water Road’. However, this confidence is noticeably different from the usual sass we hear from Kehlani, as they ditch the badass attitude for a more laid back, assertive style of confidence that sounds undeniably fresh and fitting.
Debuting with the album ‘SweetSexySavage’ in 2017, we quickly became acquainted with the bad bitch persona Kehlani was pursuing, with tracks such as ‘Too Much’, ‘CRZY’ and ‘Do U Dirty’ hailing lyrics on the subject of being a badass. Five years on, Kehlani has entered a sweeter, brighter place, openly expressing this through a mellow, blissful and pristine soundscape.
Kehlani took to Instagram to express her love for Pop Wansel, the executive producer of ‘Blue Water Road’, going on to say;
“the first time you pressed play to let me hear what you had taken and turned it into; i will never forget the sheer fucking AWE i was in of you. this wasn’t an album, this became a soundtrack! this was a score! you kept me patient when we had to sit on the album for a YEAR! you kept me confident when i was nervous because i didn’t think people wanted to hear me sing happy songs.”
We think we speak for everyone when we say we definitely want to continue hearing Kehlani sing happy songs! Lyrically, this is a place we haven’t seen Kehlani before, as they cover lyrics outside of the realms of love and relationships, heading more towards spiritual topics. This is particularly apparent in ‘Altar’, as the blend of her sweet vocal tone with meaningful lyrics based on nurturing relationships with relatives that have moved on to the afterlife creates a glorious sound that is irresistibly infectious.
Another factor that confirms Kehlani is in a new headspace is the production of this album, which is more reserved than their previous works. Despite this, we feel the orchestral production serves its purpose greatly throughout the album, with the string sections heightening the emotion and joy reflected in the lyricism and vocal performance in tracks such as ‘little story’, ‘everything’ and ‘melt’. The album also hosts collaborations with a unique range of artists such as Justin Bieber, Syd, and Jessie Reyez (just to name a few).
The contemporary sonic and lyrical components of ‘Blue Water Road’ represent Kehlani’s artistry most authentically whilst successfully bringing us on this new part of Kehlani’s journey. And, whilst we can’t wait to see the next destination, we’re going to soak up the current location first.
Words By Nadia Clasper
Photo Credit: Kehlani Instagram