Kali Uchis is an artist that many people have been anxiously anticipating new music from over the last couple of years since her excellent first record. Her debut album, Isolation(which would actually be the perfect title for an album released in April 2020), received critical acclaim and was loved by so many people when it came out in 2018. Kali Uchis has this incredible way of blending different genres within Funky Pop music in a way that is totally unique and eclectic; she blends her Colombian roots into American genres of Pop, R&B, Hip Hop, Funk, Jazz, and Rock and makes gives them such a cool, foreign feeling to them. Kali Uchis has always reminded me of artists like Anderson.Paak and Kaytranada in that they are able to take any kind of music and fuse them in a way that is so funky and fun and dance-oriented. Kali Uchis has been fairly quiet the last couple of years since releasing Isolation, having only released one single and having been featured on a couple of songs as well. Because of this, all of her friends have been starving for music. She is currently working on her second LP and putting all of her efforts into that, but she realizes that she needs to keep people talking about her and keep her fans happy, so she released To Feel Alive as a way to tide the time over until the second album does come out. I do not expect these songs to be perfectly fleshed out or this EP to have some huge overlying theme because I know this one was just released to make sure her output is not totally stagnant while we wait for the new record. With that being said, here is how I feel about Kali Uchis’ To Feel Alive EP. Please let me know how you feel about this project in the comments below, as well as what your favorite songs are from it!
The first song off of Kali Uchis’ new To Feel Alive EP is the super soft and sweet ‘honey baby(SPOILED!).’ This song has a melody that sounds like it comes from a children’s lullaby; the melody is provided by the kind of chimes that my Grandma who lives in the country has all over the outside of her house. These chime sounds make the melody very nice and familiar and really draws the listener in. The beat of this track sort of has an old school Trap feeling to it; the manner in which it is arranged has a dirty South Houston Chopped n’ Screwed element to it in a way(which obviously sounds like it would be weird to include this in an R&B song like this, but trust me, it works. You will understand when you listen if you have not yet). Lyrically, this one is a beautiful love song in which Kali is giving all her love to her significant other, and expecting all of their love back; it really is such a cute love song. ‘honey baby(SPOILED!)’ is actually a remake of a track that was supposed to be on her project Por Vida, which came out in 2015. It did not end up making the cut for that project; I am glad that she decided to keep it and rework it for To Feel Alive because it is a cool track for sure. The second track, ‘angel,’ does not have nearly as much a sweet feeling as its predecessor does, but it is definitely just as sultry. ‘angel’ is way more sensual than the opening some from this EP; on this song, Kali is informing her man that she wants him so much that it is addicting and that he does not need to worry about any of the guys who are also after her or worry about having money to pay for her or buy her things, because literally all she wants is his loving. I think these lyrics from ‘angel’ explain its sentiment as well as I can: You know you ain’t regular, you don’t need a metaphor. Psychedelic visions, honey, raising up my temperature. Taking me high, anything but typical. You know I ain’t worried ’bout my annual residuals. Worried ’bout the physical, worried ’bout your spiritual. I’m your little angel, baby boy, we’re going biblical… Sonically, ‘angel’ has a very sexy and dreamy yet psychedelic feeling to it. The instrumental, which has an R&B Trap sound that reminds me of artists like Guapdad 4000 or 6lack, gives the feeling of floating among the clouds with a lover, with emotions of bliss and happiness dominating the mind. If you need a new song for when you and your significant other are trying to get in the mood, you’re probably not going to find one much more suited for it today than ‘angel’ by Kali Uchis.
‘Cause I got needs, yeah, I got needs. I want war, but I need peace. And they kept on calling me crazy, but maybe that’s how God made me…
Following ‘angel,’ we get another R&B Trap song with a sweet yet sexy feeling and sound to it which is called ‘i want war(BUT I NEED PEACE).’ This song also has a 90s Neo-Soul element through the melody that is really cool; in fact, I could see artists like Erykah Badu, Aaliyah, or even Lauryn Hill hopping on an instrumental with a melody similar to this back in the day. Even though it is still very soft and low key, ‘i want war(BUT I NEED PEACE) has the most amount of bop of all the songs in this project for sure; it is definitely the song that makes me want to dance most. I would say that the title of this song explains the sentiment of the lyrics pretty well. On this track, Kali is talking about always getting herself into sticky or messy situations because of her impulsive nature, but in the end, she just needs to settle down and for everything to be calm. She can pretend she is made for a crazy lifestyle with no boundaries as much as she wants, but ultimately, this kind of lifestyle is not the best thing for her mental health and overall happiness. I think that a lot of people probably feel this way on some level whether they want to admit it or not, so it is cool that Kali is able to put this idea into such a pretty song. The final track on the EP, ‘TO FEEL ALIVE’ is definitely the most inventive track on the album; it is by far the most unlike the others. The instrumental is a is this funky jazz cut with no beat, which obviously forces the listener to focus on the vocals. Even though the vocals are in English, the way this song is song reminds me of traditional Hispanic Folk music. The way that Kali’s voice is layered and harmonized in really cool; it is very evident from this song that she has an incredible vocal range and can seem to hit any note whether it is low or high. On ‘TO FEEL ALIVE,’ Kali Uchis is singing about a significant other that has made her feel numb. This person has hurt her so badly that she does not feel like she can love anymore. The pain and heartache that she is experiencing is becoming more and more apparent as the song goes on. It is definitely a melancholy and bold way to end the EP considering the rest of it was so sweet and pretty sounding.
I think that a lot of music critics and people that are not already huge fans of Kali Uchis went into this project expecting way too much of TO FEEL ALIVE. I saw some not so nice reviews of this EP, and when it is compared to her album Isolation, it does not exactly hit the mark. But like I stated earlier, Kali has stated that this EP was just a small collection of songs she put out to give her fans something to new to listen to while they wait for her next album. I also think this EP was a way for her to practice some of her production skills as well, as she is listed as a producer on all four songs from TO FEEL ALIVE. There are not any high-key and super funky dance cuts on this EP and it is not overly experimental, but it is very easy to listen to and for most the most part super sweet and cozy sounding. If you are a fan of Kali Uchis’ or are into lowkey R&B music, I think you will find something to love from the TO FEEL ALIVE EP.