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 (four years ago) link

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

man this one was so underrated

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 20 November 2015 22:50 (four years ago) link

voted "Yet" that's my sleeper

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 20 November 2015 22:51 (four years ago) link

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

j., Friday, 20 November 2015 22:54 (four years ago) link

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

j., Friday, 20 November 2015 23:03 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

"The Letter" is so brutal.

Tim F, Friday, 20 November 2015 23:16 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

oh man "the letter" true

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Friday, 20 November 2015 23:26 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

this is old now it is from april

j., Sunday, 22 November 2015 04:55 (four years ago) link

great cali album, voting "n*ggas"

J0rdan S., Sunday, 22 November 2015 05:23 (four years ago) link

probs my aoty

I know when that Ott line zings (Spottie), Sunday, 22 November 2015 06:27 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

"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 (four years ago) link

"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 (four years ago) link

Voted Runnin'. I love that song.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Tuesday, 24 November 2015 19:42 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

good stuff tim

Spottie, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 17:04 (four years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 29 November 2015 00:01 (four years ago) link

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

System, Monday, 30 November 2015 00:01 (four years ago) link

you should vote here

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 00:08 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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

Tim F, Monday, 30 November 2015 02:14 (four years ago) link

Haha classic early adopter ilx poll results

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Monday, 30 November 2015 03:16 (four years ago) link

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

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 03:18 (four years ago) link

no wait 'bright'

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 03:18 (four years ago) link

the empowering one

j., Monday, 30 November 2015 03:18 (four years ago) link

grammy nominated

J0rdan S., Monday, 7 December 2015 17:45 (four years ago) link

RIGHT HERE

j., Monday, 7 December 2015 19:08 (four years ago) link

http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/kehlani-tore-up-new-song.1967554.html

Spottie, Monday, 7 December 2015 20:39 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

Jealous is the earworm on here for me

pplasma, Tuesday, 15 December 2015 20:34 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

Omg yes

Tim F, Thursday, 17 December 2015 10:43 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

good bridge

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 17 December 2015 19:20 (four years ago) link

which actually reminds me of "FWU"

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Thursday, 17 December 2015 19:21 (four years ago) link

three months pass...

what the fuck is going on

j., Tuesday, 29 March 2016 07:01 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

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

Spottie, Tuesday, 3 May 2016 21:52 (four years ago) link

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

Listen to my homeboy Fantano (D-40), Tuesday, 3 May 2016 23:43 (four years ago) link

this is incredible

flopson, Tuesday, 26 February 2019 17:35 (one year ago) link

and a compact coda to the last album

Let's have sensible centrist armageddon (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 26 February 2019 17:36 (one year ago) link

i haven't checked the credits but my impression is there is a return to the producers/production of the first 'tape' more than the album? which i like

j., Tuesday, 26 February 2019 21:32 (one year ago) link

why is this the best album ive heard in like 2 years

flopson, Thursday, 28 February 2019 02:47 (one year ago) link

don't get out much

j., Thursday, 28 February 2019 02:56 (one year ago) link

lol

Let's have sensible centrist armageddon (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 28 February 2019 03:03 (one year ago) link

it's rly good

J0rdan S., Thursday, 28 February 2019 03:52 (one year ago) link

songwriting seems really on another level

flopson, Thursday, 28 February 2019 03:57 (one year ago) link

i'm a little cool on the chorus/title of 'feels', seems too trite given her keen ear for conversational lyric-writing (if she were a novelist people would praise her ear for dialogue)

but the production on butterfly amazes me

j., Thursday, 28 February 2019 03:59 (one year ago) link

[Pre-Chorus: Kehlani]
But here’s to being honest
Neither of us knew what we wanted
But all we knew is that we cared
Still all we painted was a moment

[Chorus: Kehlani]
And when I walked away
I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me
And when I walked away
I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me
You’re so bad at holding water, slips right through your fingers
We'd both end up drowning, it would hit the ground
And then the path would wash away, wash away

fuck me all the wya up

― J0rdan S., Friday, February 22, 2019 1:36 PM (five days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

flopson, Thursday, 28 February 2019 04:01 (one year ago) link

yeah "feels" makes me a little itchy... i think i prefer "love language"

J0rdan S., Thursday, 28 February 2019 04:15 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

love "Toxic":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ej_l8C5Q94

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Friday, 13 March 2020 08:16 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

yes - it owns, so does the new video. really hyped for the new album. while we wait was lk one of the best of 2019

||||||||, Friday, 27 March 2020 22:42 (three months ago) link

that video - “Quarantine Style”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmFP1AP-afM

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Friday, 27 March 2020 23:08 (three months ago) link

four weeks pass...

new album It Was Good Until It Wasn't out May 8!

ufo, Saturday, 25 April 2020 01:02 (two months ago) link

It's out!

Nourry, Friday, 8 May 2020 09:13 (two months ago) link

'hate the club' is amazing.

Nourry, Friday, 8 May 2020 13:43 (two months ago) link

I've been looking for it for a couple days.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 8 May 2020 13:51 (two months ago) link

playing now, all the advance singles and features have been great so i'm pretty hyped.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 8 May 2020 15:59 (two months ago) link

enjoying this but it strangely feels a little low-key compared to last year's While We Wait which everyone really slept on

ufo, Friday, 8 May 2020 23:26 (two months ago) link

hi!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 8 May 2020 23:34 (two months ago) link

you reviewed this, right?

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 9 May 2020 00:11 (two months ago) link

no, alas

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 9 May 2020 01:03 (two months ago) link

this is solid but I agree with "little low key" and the "transition record" comment from this vulture interview... the floor is lower than previous albums but I've yet to find the song that sends me like Undercover or Nights Like This

https://www.vulture.com/2020/05/kehlani-profile-it-was-good-until-it-wasnt.html

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 9 May 2020 18:35 (two months ago) link

Kehani being ridiculously patient with Charlamagne here (who is trending on the back of this)

charlamagne really be gaslighting the FUCK out of his female guest and it pisses me off every single time. props to kehlani for keeping it cool cause i definitely woulda got in his ass talmbout “you cant forgive a lil cheating?” “niggas fuck up” https://t.co/WiUhyIwIUm

— lil gemini (@tr_imani) May 9, 2020

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 9 May 2020 18:43 (two months ago) link

very surprised to learn SweetSexySavage was "rushed" and "half-finished ideas" because it's such a solid record, doesn't sound that way at all

ufo, Saturday, 9 May 2020 22:29 (two months ago) link

This record feels rushed, actually; it's my least favorite to date.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 9 May 2020 22:30 (two months ago) link

well "rushed" and "half-finished" were the writer's words

J0rdan S., Saturday, 9 May 2020 23:11 (two months ago) link

“I started an album as one person and went through the most traumatic event in my life,” she says. Her label held fast to its deadline, leaving her to make an album from songs she barely recognized. “I didn’t connect with any of the music,” she says. “I was embarrassed of everything.”

she's talking about the album in a really specific personal context. she may have not connected w/ the music by the time it came out (or even when it was recorded?) but that's different than saying that the songs themselves aren't good

J0rdan S., Saturday, 9 May 2020 23:13 (two months ago) link

tbh to me it feels like the story is trying to wedge sexysweetsavage into the well worn storyline that goes "pop artist forced by label to record songs against their will, returns w/ more artistically true album." but it feels like inaccurate framing to me... i mean, i personally wrote at the time that the album was a triumph for "real" R&B in a world where branding and pop stardom mattered more, so idk it's hard for me to see it as a failed sellout record or something like that. again, this is divorced completely from how the recording and release of the album mapped across kehlani's own personal life, and how she feels about it now because of it

J0rdan S., Saturday, 9 May 2020 23:18 (two months ago) link

it is at best her third best project to me tho

J0rdan S., Saturday, 9 May 2020 23:18 (two months ago) link

sexysweetsavage didn't seem bad to me, just more 'professional'—not as lived-in in the songwriting or production

j., Sunday, 10 May 2020 01:14 (two months ago) link

as for this album, it's kinda patchy at the beginning. but once it gets to "change your life" it's pretty great until the end. the production gets really cool, some of the melodic runs and stuff on "hate the club" are really cool. it opens up a bit gets, more acoustic... "can you blame me" is perfect. the james blake feature is regrettable. overall this is pretty safely one of the better records i've heard this year.

J0rdan S., Sunday, 10 May 2020 03:25 (two months ago) link

i really think 'sweetsexysavage' is kinda of a r&b masterpiece.

Nourry, Sunday, 10 May 2020 12:15 (two months ago) link

"Water," "Can You Blame Me," "Hate the Club," and "Open (Passionate)" are my keepers.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 May 2020 12:22 (two months ago) link

oh man "change your life" rules

J0rdan S., Sunday, 10 May 2020 18:35 (two months ago) link

Leaning into Toxic, Change Your Life, F&MU, Water as the return tracks. I wish Tory Lanez wasn't on Can I, it's otherwise quite good.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 10 May 2020 18:40 (two months ago) link

it's really just the first 2 songs on here i don't like. "bad news" is a really beautiful song. there's at least 3 instant classic records on this, prob a handful that i would put on a best of mix, and i've been playing the full album aside from "toxic" and "can i" nonstop since friday

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 12 May 2020 03:15 (one month ago) link

the way she slips in and out of "frontin" on "everybody business" is awesome

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 12 May 2020 03:16 (one month ago) link

i've listened to "hate the club" like 100 times, what a song

J0rdan S., Tuesday, 12 May 2020 03:19 (one month ago) link

I really like toxic. thought this project was pretty low key but need to sit with it for a while. sweetsexysavage and while we wait both masterpieces for my money tho

megan thee macallan 18 year (||||||||), Tuesday, 12 May 2020 08:10 (one month ago) link

you should be here is so good too. building quite the catalog

megan thee macallan 18 year (||||||||), Tuesday, 12 May 2020 08:11 (one month ago) link

"Leave the juice to your squeeze" my god

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 12 May 2020 12:51 (one month ago) link

I'm pretty obsessed with the "Open" half of "Open/Passionate" and the lyrics of the pre- and the chorus (and the perspective flip in the second pre-/chorus!):

[Pre-Chorus]
What if you slip up?
What if tequila grab your neck and say, "Don't bitch up"?
What if you wanna shoot your shot and load the clip up?
Are you scared to lose your queen and gain a bishop?

[Chorus]
Do I got you way too open to be open?
Is the lens you see me through just way too focused?
What if you're curious and caught up in the moment?
Can you hold me down when I'm across the ocean?
Can you control it?
Do I got you way too open to be open?
Would you let it twist up all of your emotions?
What if you're curious and caught up in the moment?
Do I got you way too open to be (open)

winters (josh), Tuesday, 12 May 2020 19:38 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

lmao my brain just shuts off and stops recording whenever i hear tory lanez's voice

otherwise i regret taking forever to get around to this record, it's fantastic

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 29 June 2020 17:34 (one week ago) link

"bad news" is a really beautiful song

j0rd knows

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 29 June 2020 17:36 (one week ago) link

"Open (Passionate)" is, according to my phone, 2020s most played song.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 29 June 2020 17:39 (one week ago) link

i just skip the first 2 songs honestly... from that point on it's very easily a top 5 record of the year to me

J0rdan S., Monday, 29 June 2020 17:51 (one week ago) link

hate the club... what an artist

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 29 June 2020 17:56 (one week ago) link

"grieving" is so good i'll even endure the unwelcome yodel of james blake

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 29 June 2020 18:11 (one week ago) link


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