kehlani - you should be here (2015)

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right here.

http://www.xclusivejams.me/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Kehlani-You-Should-Be-Here-full-album.jpeg

Poll Results

OptionVotes
2. "You Should Be Here" 2
13. "Yet" 2
15. "Alive" (featuring Coucheron) 1
10. "Runnin' (Interlude)" 1
9. "The Letter" 1
8. "Unconditional" 1
7. "The Way" (featuring Chance the Rapper) 1
5. "Niggas" 1
6. "Wanted" 0
4. "Jealous" (featuring Lexii Alijai) 0
11. "Be Alright" 0
12. "Down for You" (featuring BJ the Chicago Kid) 0
3. "How That Taste" 0
14. "Bright" 0
1. "Intro" 0


j., Friday, 20 November 2015 22:23 (one year ago) Permalink

this record is wonderful and i feel terrible for leaving it out of one of my eoy ballots

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Friday, 20 November 2015 22:24 (one year ago) Permalink

man this one was so underrated

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 20 November 2015 22:50 (one year ago) Permalink

voted "Yet" that's my sleeper

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 20 November 2015 22:51 (one year ago) Permalink

'bright' makes me want to weep and do good works for humankind

j., Friday, 20 November 2015 22:54 (one year ago) Permalink

'jealous' makes me wonder how many things i could rhyme with 'bitches' if i really really tried

j., Friday, 20 November 2015 23:03 (one year ago) Permalink

such a good album and one of those where a different song is my favourite each time - like nothing here overshadows anything else, it's perfectly balanced

"yet" maybe, or "n*ggas" for the line "no i'm not dumb, i know exactly what went wrong in my past"

lex pretend, Friday, 20 November 2015 23:05 (one year ago) Permalink

"The Letter" is so brutal.

Tim F, Friday, 20 November 2015 23:16 (one year ago) Permalink

this was slept on but the natasha mosley album was even more slept on and reminded me a lot of this, from a different angle

lex pretend, Friday, 20 November 2015 23:19 (one year ago) Permalink

oh man "the letter" true

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 20 November 2015 23:26 (one year ago) Permalink

I listened to this once and it didn't make any impression on me? idk maybe I should go back but tbh I've been way more interested in listening to old music than new music lately

The Reverend, Sunday, 22 November 2015 04:34 (one year ago) Permalink

this is old now it is from april

j., Sunday, 22 November 2015 04:55 (one year ago) Permalink

great cali album, voting "n*ggas"

J0rdan S., Sunday, 22 November 2015 05:23 (one year ago) Permalink

probs my aoty

I know when that Ott line zings (Spottie), Sunday, 22 November 2015 06:27 (one year ago) Permalink

pretty easily alive for me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqpQgp8_ajo

I know when that Ott line zings (Spottie), Sunday, 22 November 2015 06:57 (one year ago) Permalink

"The Letter" is so brutal.

― Tim F, Friday, November 20, 2015 11:16 PM (4 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

totally. really exemplifies what makes her songwriting so effective for me - it's so unflinching, she doesn't sugarcoat any word or emotion (and her relatively plain style of singing accentuates this), but really elegant in the way she pieces together a situation and its consequences via so many details that bring the entire song into focus

lex pretend, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 18:08 (one year ago) Permalink

"bright" is like the exact inverse of "the letter", kehlani becoming everything she needed but never had

lex pretend, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 18:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Voted Runnin'. I love that song.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Tuesday, 24 November 2015 19:42 (one year ago) Permalink

I wrote something about this album for my local paper column back in May:

Precious few serious people now maintain that mainstream R&B is manufactured, soulless pap. Indeed, a certain carefully curated appreciation of the style is necessary to establish oneself as a rounded and culturally diverse listener. But this orthodoxy is a limited win for the genre critically, revolving as it does around certain overfamiliar archetypes. Consider the twin female pillars of social genuflection: on the one hand, the Queen Bae, and on the other, the enigmatic departed siren Aaliyah. Beyonce’s appeal resides in both universalism and force, as if she is performing not just what we feel but what we want to feel, only more powerfully and with more expressive nuance than we could. Aaliyah’s lionisation reflects the opposite trend: R&B as the mysterious blank slate, the singer whose true feelings are forever denied to us, leaving a void we’re anxious to fill with our own projected fantasies (never mind that this characterisation doesn’t really capture the charms of Aaliyah’s recorded work).

But there are other archetypes, or even just character types, that get dealt out of the story by the relentless march of history. Lately I’ve been thinking about Nivea, a minor player in the millennial R&B renaissance who scored only one hit with 2002’s Don’t Mess With The Radio. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about 2004’s Parking Lot, a fantastically understated song about creeping out on your sleeping man to hook up with your side-thug: “meet me at the McDonald’s parking lot”, Nivea instructs, in what might be R&B’s least glamorous but most real moment ever. Delivered in Nivea’s unaffected, slightly husky alto, the song imagines R&B as unvarnished, plain-spoken but intimate, up-close confessionals drawn from real life. I can’t think of another song quite like it.

But if Parking Lot stands alone, the idea of mainstream R&B delivering life-sized relatability is expertly executed on You Should Be Here, the second album from 19 year old Oakland singer Kehlani, which has been captivating me all week. Kehlani is more classically expressive than Nivea was – you can tell she’s seen American Idol before – but she shares a hint of huskiness and, more importantly, that overriding air of familiarity, delivering her songs with the unfiltered directness of your lover, your best friend or your ex. It’s the addressee, the listener, who changes hats depending on subject matter; Kehlani’s overriding sense of personality remains constant even as she pivots from ecstatic romance on Unconditional to big-sister life affirmation on Bright to knowing dismissal on How That Taste or Jealous (the latter a kiss-off to a fling who takes photos with her to make his ex-girlfriends jealous on social media - Kehlani takes narrative detail quite seriously). She addresses her refusal to play along on Runnin’: “does it make you nervous that I’m not afraid to say what I want?” she taunts both a lover and her listeners.

If there’s a drawback to this, it’s that Kehlani’s consistent relatability can make the album at first seem more samey than it really is, as do the arrangements' seamlessly executed stylistic potpourri cherry-picking the best R&B sounds of the past two decades (stuttering Timblaland beats, synth horns, trap snares); the songs’ diversity and range are handled so capably and unselfconsciously that they're easy to underestimate; conversely, it's this which also gives the album an ease and staying power which, while it might not support breathless social media hype, makes it a welcoming pleasure to return to.

The concomitant pay-off is most evident in The Letter, nominally the album’s big ballad, in which Kehlani directly addresses the mother who abandoned her, her temptation to blame herself ("maybe I didn't deserve you" she repeatedly wonders) as cutting as her refusal to forgive. “If you weren’t going to guide me / why bring me into the light?” she asks, her deceptive gentleness like a knife twisting in your stomach. It's strong stuff, but there's no gratuitous melodrama here, just ice cold clarity and unflinching honesty. Avoiding grand gestures, Kehlani measures her punches so that they're just sharp and powerful enough to penetrate your defences before you have time to steel yourself.

Tim F, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 22:30 (one year ago) Permalink

that's really great, "unselfconscious" is really key to this album. the arrangements are never striking in and of themselves - maybe this is why it flew under the radar? as well, as, yes, consistency meaning no one stand-out to rally around - they're really good frames for her songs but never the focal point

lex pretend, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:06 (one year ago) Permalink

also didn't realise that this was technically sold as a mixtape rather than her debut album!

lex pretend, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:07 (one year ago) Permalink

good stuff tim

Spottie, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 17:04 (one year ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 29 November 2015 00:01 (one year ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 30 November 2015 00:01 (one year ago) Permalink

you should vote here

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 00:08 (one year ago) Permalink

I didn't discover this album until last weekend. I'm looking forward to digging in. "The Letter" is the early highlight.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 30 November 2015 00:57 (one year ago) Permalink

"Jealous" is my favourite song not to get a vote.

Tim F, Monday, 30 November 2015 02:14 (one year ago) Permalink

Haha classic early adopter ilx poll results

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Monday, 30 November 2015 03:16 (one year ago) Permalink

i think i forgot, i woulda voted for 'be alright' : /

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 03:18 (one year ago) Permalink

no wait 'bright'

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 03:18 (one year ago) Permalink

the empowering one

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 03:18 (one year ago) Permalink

grammy nominated

J0rdan S., Monday, 7 December 2015 17:45 (one year ago) Permalink

RIGHT HERE

j., Monday, 7 December 2015 19:08 (one year ago) Permalink

Great piece, Tim (though disagree somewhat about Beyonce as universalist: think she gives this innocent/simple country boy mind the grand illusion of seeing through *her* eyes, feeling the rush and massive skyscraper impact of *her* outsized experience, sometimes anyway). Also other comments on this thread got me going, will check alb.

dow, Monday, 7 December 2015 20:47 (one year ago) Permalink

didn't vote in this but i've been feeling Bright lately

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 15 December 2015 17:26 (one year ago) Permalink

Jealous is the earworm on here for me

pplasma, Tuesday, 15 December 2015 20:34 (one year ago) Permalink

new song "Did I" is def a step closer to the mainstream

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 17 December 2015 07:53 (one year ago) Permalink

heh i too once eagerly invoked nivea to sell this (or perhaps the prev one idk) to someone before sternly reminding myself that irlx is not a thing

looking forward to her going a bit more pop if so, feels right now. maybe someone oughta hook her up with some y2k 'he loves u not'/ 'no matta what' spazz beats just cos she can

r|t|c, Thursday, 17 December 2015 10:10 (one year ago) Permalink

Omg yes

Tim F, Thursday, 17 December 2015 10:43 (one year ago) Permalink

almost too cruel to invoke that possibility when it will never happen

i think she'll be great at going pop in whatever era though, albeit not with this new one specifically, which feels a bit trudging compared with her own stuff

cher guevara (lex pretend), Thursday, 17 December 2015 17:48 (one year ago) Permalink

relistening to "he loves u not" now (<3) and the first girl really is a dead ringer for kehlani!

cher guevara (lex pretend), Thursday, 17 December 2015 17:49 (one year ago) Permalink

maybe the pop & oak connection is polluting my thinking here but the way the sample is used in the "did i" hook is a little too reminiscent of "say it" for me

J0rdan S., Thursday, 17 December 2015 17:53 (one year ago) Permalink

the rap part of the verses remind me of drake's big rings hook

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Thursday, 17 December 2015 18:11 (one year ago) Permalink

good bridge

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 17 December 2015 19:20 (one year ago) Permalink

which actually reminds me of "FWU"

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 17 December 2015 19:21 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

what the fuck is going on

j., Tuesday, 29 March 2016 07:01 (one year ago) Permalink

http://www.factmag.com/2016/03/29/kehlani-suicide-attempt/

Always so sad to hear about anyone reaching this place.

tangenttangent, Tuesday, 29 March 2016 11:17 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

new song
https://soundcloud.com/kehlanimusic/24-7a

Spottie, Tuesday, 3 May 2016 21:52 (one year ago) Permalink

this one's dope, way better than 'did i' IMO

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Tuesday, 3 May 2016 23:43 (one year ago) Permalink

dub this album onto cassette tape, dub that onto another, repeat fifty times over, place the final tape in your shirt pocket and then jump out of the nearest open window

― r|t|c, Friday, January 27, 2017 10:21 AM (thirty-seven minutes ago) Bookmark

come on man!!!!! i just want pop music to sound a little better u_u

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 15:59 (six months ago) Permalink

but i'd rather talk about how "piece of mind" is a stunning song that should be an R&B standard from now on

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 16:00 (six months ago) Permalink

obviously she telegraphs the TLC influence w/ the stylizing of the title but i kept thinking that this my fav parts of this abum feel like they could have been on 'fanmail'... "piece of mind" especially

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 16:04 (six months ago) Permalink

haha sorry i couldnt resist the hyperb by js homage

https://www.discogs.com/artist/237914-Chris-Athens?sort=year%2Cdesc&limit=500

man i cant believe they got this bum in to master it jeez

r|t|c, Friday, 27 January 2017 17:24 (six months ago) Permalink

ayo ma u sure u want that funcrusher plus sound tho? aight word

r|t|c, Friday, 27 January 2017 17:26 (six months ago) Permalink

In Jordan's defense the advance stream they sent out sounded weird to me also. But it sounds fine on Apple Music now. Idk

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 27 January 2017 18:29 (six months ago) Permalink

Pop&oak were heavily involved in this right? Kinda cool to think of the "say it" record having more of a wave than Tory lanez trump like attention span

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 27 January 2017 18:31 (six months ago) Permalink

p&o doing the bulk of the production was kinda my main point of concern leading up to it but the album is a terrifically well considered and vibrant synthesis of old and new

not that i doubt the subtlety of their chops but lesser students of the game than keh sometimes only bang like vehicular

r|t|c, Friday, 27 January 2017 19:22 (six months ago) Permalink

not here for pop & oak slander

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 23:20 (six months ago) Permalink

not here for pop & oak slander

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 23:20 (six months ago) Permalink

hey--i really mean it

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 23:20 (six months ago) Permalink

hey--i really mean it

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 23:20 (six months ago) Permalink

nice i cracked the double posting code

J0rdan S., Friday, 27 January 2017 23:21 (six months ago) Permalink

in a dee-sguise

j., Friday, 27 January 2017 23:30 (six months ago) Permalink

aoty

Spottie, Friday, 27 January 2017 23:54 (six months ago) Permalink

the bass on everything is yours m/l gave my sub a nice workout

Spottie, Friday, 27 January 2017 23:55 (six months ago) Permalink

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22794-sweetsexysavage/

Atlantic groomed her publicly and behind the scenes for cred and stardom, from 2014 mixtape Cloud 19 to 2015’s album-called-mixtape You Should Be Here to heavy promotion at radio.

correct me if i'm wrong here, but atlantic didn't sign her until after cloud 19. we were talking about her here on ILX before she signed

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Monday, 30 January 2017 07:01 (five months ago) Permalink

not a criticism of the review mind, which seems more positive than that score which is kinda weak. i shudder to think of what middling PR-driven garbage beat out 7.0

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Monday, 30 January 2017 07:05 (five months ago) Permalink

It's a great review Katherine! (as are all your reviews) the score did seem somewhat incongruent tho which is often the case with pitchfork reviews

monotony, Monday, 30 January 2017 07:06 (five months ago) Permalink

generally speaking anything 7+ is in the "very good" category

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Monday, 30 January 2017 20:38 (five months ago) Permalink

Yeah that was a v good review to be clear

lol I know 7 is "v good" but cmon

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Monday, 30 January 2017 21:18 (five months ago) Permalink

I have to agree with deej here. A plain 7 just feels wrong at this point..

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Monday, 30 January 2017 22:12 (five months ago) Permalink

her last tape was a 7.4...

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Tuesday, 31 January 2017 02:11 (five months ago) Permalink

quibbling over bloody p4k decimal places does not befit kehlani

lex pretend, Tuesday, 31 January 2017 08:40 (five months ago) Permalink

haven't been this excited about an album since dumblonde's debut. this is kinda like my r&b pipe dream of the last 16 years or so.

rusty_allen, Friday, 3 February 2017 15:46 (five months ago) Permalink

belatedly the decimal places are because I really liked You Should Be Here

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Friday, 3 February 2017 18:10 (five months ago) Permalink

http://www.spin.com/2017/02/kehlanis-sweetsexysavage-argues-that-theres-more-to-modern-rb-than-sadboy-jerkoffs/

some nice lines in jord rvw

album is strong and interesting enough on its own terms to not require modern rnb industry 101 crit layups imo, but i get it

r|t|c, Friday, 3 February 2017 19:12 (five months ago) Permalink

agree that empathy is def the keyword. "i kill em i kill em i kill em with compassion"

arguably it's actually a lil bit of a trap to counterpoint this against "acidic r&b at the moment" because it underplays the headstrong advances keh makes to the now slightly stale popular/critical idea of ~relatability~

r|t|c, Friday, 3 February 2017 19:18 (five months ago) Permalink

generally i find myself writing a lot about context, always trying to remind myself to write more about the music... but thank u

J0rdan S., Friday, 3 February 2017 20:50 (five months ago) Permalink

on Wednesday when a student asked who some of my favorite singers were and I said "K Michelle and Kehlani" she brightened and we talked about radio for about ten minutes. It felt good to establish a vaporwave-free zone.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 February 2017 20:51 (five months ago) Permalink

I love this record. I gotta hook up with a boy, love him, and face familial resistance so I can make "Undercover" our anthem.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 03:31 (five months ago) Permalink

I know we live in an unfair universe cause "Undercover" isn't everywhere

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 05:55 (five months ago) Permalink

haven't been this obsessed with a song for a while now

Spottie, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 05:59 (five months ago) Permalink

head over heels 4 "escape" today

lex pretend, Thursday, 9 February 2017 17:14 (five months ago) Permalink

trying to figure out what song that opening guitar reminds me of. some babyface thing I'm sure

Spottie, Thursday, 9 February 2017 17:23 (five months ago) Permalink

big fan of how "too much" slows down and reshapes "more than a woman"

― who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Friday, January 27, 2017 8:24 AM (one week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeh its a great homage

Spottie, Thursday, 9 February 2017 17:29 (five months ago) Permalink

even more appreciably so when you put it next to the empty-feeling 'know' on the new syd lp

r|t|c, Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:22 (five months ago) Permalink

I like that Syd album more than I thought I would (esp "Got Her Own") but yeah obv no Kehlani

lex pretend, Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:25 (five months ago) Permalink

my only criticism of j0rdan's review (and i suspect it's a 'writers don't write headlines' thing) is that I don't think i've heard anyone say 'jerkoffs' since seventh grade

flopson, Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:28 (five months ago) Permalink

syd's kind of got a heavy-handed sense of rhythm to me. feels kind of clumsy or something, like its asking for delicacy

at least on this album idk, im not super familiar w/ the internet's stuff but i know ppl like it

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:30 (five months ago) Permalink

i was v fond of last the internet record hence prob why 'dollar bills' is my fave on this solo and the rest hasnt done much for me

r|t|c, Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:42 (five months ago) Permalink

even more appreciably so when you put it next to the empty-feeling 'know' on the new syd lp

― r|t|c, Thursday, February 9, 2017 11:22 AM (seventeen minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

just listened, beat def sounds chintzy in comparison. beats gotta snap if ur gonna do timbo

Spottie, Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:46 (five months ago) Permalink

xp that kinda makes it sound like i just like them as an n.e.r.d pastiche but idk she just seems way more comfortably expressive within that metier compared to this chillier timbahintaland

r|t|c, Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:48 (five months ago) Permalink

my only criticism of j0rdan's review (and i suspect it's a 'writers don't write headlines' thing) is that I don't think i've heard anyone say 'jerkoffs' since seventh grade

― flopson, Thursday, February 9, 2017 1:28 PM (one hour ago) Bookmark

lol thankfully nobody has written my headlines in years

J0rdan S., Thursday, 9 February 2017 20:05 (five months ago) Permalink

i like the syd album a lot too, way more than i expected to. i hear the criticisms of "know" for instance but i think that's a legit hook. i do like that it sort of deviates from the aaliyah mimicry later in the album as rtc sorta insinuates

J0rdan S., Thursday, 9 February 2017 20:08 (five months ago) Permalink

man i am loving this

k3vin k., Saturday, 11 February 2017 23:56 (five months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAEQas2eCN8

Spottie, Friday, 28 April 2017 23:09 (two months ago) Permalink

good beat, almost feel like they overwrote the song listening to it now

J0rdan S., Saturday, 29 April 2017 16:30 (two months ago) Permalink

kehlani having an impact https://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/rankchange.html

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Saturday, 13 May 2017 02:11 (two months ago) Permalink

wow

J0rdan S., Saturday, 13 May 2017 15:56 (two months ago) Permalink


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