Kehlani – It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
This is the second album from the 25-year-old from Oakland, California. Kehlani had a challenging start in life: she lost her dad to drug addiction as a toddler and was raised by her aunt. Despite this, she trained as a dancer. When a knee injury ruined hopes for her dancing career, she switched her attention to singing and became part of the band Poplyfe while still a teenager. The group finished sixth on America’s Got Talent in 2011. The fact she has a credible career afterwards is no mean feat. It Was Good Until It Wasn’t is her second full-length album, following on from debut SweetSexySavage. Kehlani is a compelling presence: madly beautiful and entangled in many social media storms; a pop-RnB princess with face tattoos who is candid about her pansexuality and struggles with mental health.
It Was Good Until It Wasn’t is the explicit examination of a toxic relationship, probably her one with rapper YG, who was caught on film cheating on her. Opener Toxic is the standout track, with some arresting lyrics (“That dick always been problematic”) and the best melody on the album – a languorous and self-reflective groove. Can I ft. Tory Lanez takes its tune from Aaliyah’s Come Over, a smooth, sweet song. Everybody Business references Pharrell’s Frontin’. These are both great songs, but it might have been interesting to hear them changed up more for 2020. James Blake, always a musical innovator, guests on Grieving.
The production is classy, sexy and made for the bedroom. Sonically, the songs merge together and it’s difficult to pick out and remember a tune. It is breezily beautiful as a whole but tonally one note. There are 25 producers behind the album, and this might be a reason why the songs sound the same. It’s hard to get a real sense of who Kehlani is musically; it feels like the album’s been designed to try to appeal to as many people as possible and, in doing so, left out the good tracks. Kehlani’s a star – there’s no doubt. Her voice is good, she raps, sings, writes and you want to hear what she has to say, but it feels like this album could be punchier.
It Was Good Until it Wasn’t was released on 8th May 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Kehlani’s website here.
Watch the video for the Bad News here: