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Michael Kiwanuka – “Kiwanuka” (2019)

  Michael Kiwanuka’s self-titled third album starts off with the track, “You Ain’t the Problem.” The song is fast-paced, as tight drums and sporadic horns fill the track vibrantly. The album is filled with a variety of themes, moods and food for thought. These ideas range from self-acceptance to a nuclear apocalypse. The record sounds frightening at times, but Kiwanuka does not allow darkness to envelop his record. Instead, he uses soulful melodies and psychedelic-curious instrumentation to create a sense of relief for listeners. “Kiwanuka” is captivating both sonically and figuratively, possibly for its attitude which offers no comfort to listeners. Kiwanuka does not offer answers to the questions he poses on his latest record. In fact, these questions seem just as mysterious to Kiwanuka as they do to the listener. This album seems to breathe a new life into the soul genre and into Kiwanuka’s discography.

Favorites: “I’ve Been Dazed,” “Piano Joint (This Kind of Love),” “Solid Ground”

Rating: 9

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