blue water road (2022)
Kehlani’s album blue water road is an R&B album that was released on April 29, 2022 and is a shorter album consisting of 13 songs at 37 minutes and 53 seconds. Throughout the album, she has various features such as Blxst, Syd, Justin Bieber, Jessie Reyez, Thundercat, and Ambre.
Sonically at least, it was quite reminiscent of her past album While We Wait in a way I find equally as appealing. The general sound follows her particular type of chill where, as various parts of the album go on some of them get a bit more bass and not necessarily fast, but stronger paced. There are songs throughout with lapses of silence at their opening or closing that some people may not necessarily be used to.
Her voice continues to have a soft sensuality to it that comes out more strongly in the lyrics of songs like “melt,” “alter,” or even “tangerine”. Furthermore, the musicality of the beats that flow through each of the songs works well at creating a cohesive album that is easy to listen to from start to finish.
Each of the songs do a job at conveying emotion and states of mind that can both be easy to connect to or just feel through the music itself. Taking in the lyrics of “wondering/wandering,” the state is certainly not difficult to feel. The album’s title track “little story” seems to encompass what the album does exactly, taking the listener on a journey through her mind, state, and growth.
Listening to songs like "wish i never,” there is a portrayed stress in her response to the situation and relationship that resonates perfectly, sticking in the mind of the listener. The way “any given sunday” plays through almost knowing what they are asking is a setup of behavior that could easily be a mess but still thinking of going for it is a sensation I think a lot of people can connect to.
Beat-wise, I really appreciate “get me started” as well as the comments on the stresses in this relationship and this disconnect that is so active it’s inescapable and always pushing while the involved parties see no good way for it to end because it has gone too far. To me, it also kind of seems to work with the sense of longing portrayed in “alter” with the need to bring someone closer.
Going into the second to last song “everything,” the sense of the sheer connection and the “matching energy” that she sings about and how different it is from how she had been before combined with the ending reverberations of her voice makes the transition stick out to the listener.
As the album closes itself out, she fills out details of the things she has had to learn in her time in life and how they brought her to where she currently is. Despite the track being referred to as “wondering/wandering,” there is a sense of new understanding that has become clearly present that listeners can feel.
If I were asked to recommend the album to Kehlani fans, R&B fans, or just people in general, I definitely would. I feel as if it is not only musically really well done, but lyrically there are plenty of things for people to take in, enjoy and feel in general. It is Kehlani, so many of the songs are explicit so if that is something you tend to stray away from, note that it is present. It is not necessarily a detraction, however.
Overall, I found this to be a great album that I feel has easy re-listenability that could always bring more out of the music if one wants it to.
- Essence Saunders
California State University, Stanislaus
About the Author:
Essence Saunders is a pansexual graduate student for literature at California State University, Stanislaus. She has had reviews and an art piece published within PenumbraOnline.org before as well as had journalism articles published with the Signal at CSU Stanislaus. She primarily works with oil paint, sketching, short stories, and cosplay.