Isolation (Kali Uchis album)

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Isolation
Kali Uchis - Isolation.png
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 6, 2018 (2018-04-06)
Recorded2017–2018
Studio
Various
    • Whitelines (Los Angeles)
    • Interscope (Santa Monica)
    • Dap-Kings (New York City)
    • Harmony (Los Angeles)
    • Red Bull (Los Angeles)
    • Paramount (Los Angeles)
    • Studio 13 (London)
    • Park Street (Los Angeles)
Genre
Length46:30
Label
Producer
Kali Uchis chronology
Por Vida
(2015)
Isolation
(2018)
To Feel Alive
(2020)
Singles from Isolation
  1. "Dead To Me"
    Released: April 21, 2017
  2. "Tyrant"
    Released: May 22, 2017
  3. "Nuestro Planeta"
    Released: August 25, 2017
  4. "After the Storm"
    Released: January 12, 2018
  5. "Just a Stranger"
    Released: October 30, 2018

Isolation is the debut studio album by Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis, released worldwide on April 6, 2018, by Rinse Recordings, Virgin EMI Records, and Universal Music Group.[7][8] The album was supported by five singles: "Dead to Me", "Tyrant" featuring Jorja Smith, "Nuestro Planeta" featuring Reykon, "After the Storm" featuring Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins, and "Just a Stranger" featuring Steve Lacy. The album was later certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Recording[edit]

In June 2018, Kali was concerned for her debut album's sound:

When I was making this album, I really didn't want to be influenced by current music or by my peers ...I was worried that maybe my music wouldn't be embraced by other people because it doesn't really correlate with what's trending at this moment, but I think embracing the isolation of that and taking the risk of making things that doesn't sound like anything else right now makes music exciting. That's part of what makes life exciting. That's part of being an artist.

— Rachel, Hahn (13 June 2018). "Kali Uchis Style Profile". Vogue. Retrieved 8 July 2018.

Music and lyrics[edit]

In an interview with National Public Radio, Kali Uchis spoke on the details of her relationship with her family and growing up alongside the lyrics of "Killer", stating:

In that era of my life, I was still really young and I was just kind of figuring everything out. I didn't really have anywhere to stay towards the ends of my high school days. I was in a relationship for five years from when I was 15 to when I was 19 and it was very toxic. That's kind of where it stemmed from, but also it can relate to all of the other relationships that were in my life at that moment. My relationship with my family was really, really bad. I was kicked out of the house and I was really difficult as a kid. I'm happy it happened because I was able to grow so much from it, you know?[9]

"After the Storm" features vocals from rapper Tyler, the Creator and singer Bootsy Collins. "Nuestro Planeta" features vocals from reggaeton performer Reykon. The song is a progressive R&B and Latin pop[10] song with a reggaeton rush,[9] and serves as the second single for Isolation. The silky funk[9] song serves as the third single of the album. The A.V. Club describes "Body Language" as a "Smoke-ring bossa nova" song.[10] "Miami" is a progressive Latin pop and R&B song.[10]

Release and promotion[edit]

I'm really proud to have had such a successful tour. I never had any experience performing and didn't know anybody in the industry when I started. I started literally in my room looping samples. So for me, getting the start in touring was a whole different world I didn't know about. You really have to know what you're doing to put the right type of team together. The right band, the right tour manager, and even when it comes to sound -- your team has to be the right people around you. I'm proud I finally found a team of people who understand me and who I can work really well with.

— Kali Uchis[11]

Uchis supported the album with her 23-date North American "In Your Dreams" tour which commenced on September 13, 2018, in Seattle and ended on November 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. Gabriel Garzón-Montano and Cuco served as opening acts for the tour.[12][13]

Uchis made her television debut on The Tonight Show alongside Tyler, the Creator to perform "After the Storm".[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.3/10[15]
Metacritic87/100[16]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[17]
The A.V. ClubB+[18]
Clash8/10[19]
Consequence of SoundA−[5]
Exclaim!8/10[20]
The Independent[21]
NME[1]
Pitchfork8.6/10[4]
Q[22]
Rolling Stone[2]

Isolation received widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 87, based on 17 reviews.[16] Ilana Kaplan of The Independent wrote that Uchis "has been largely underrated the past few years, but Isolation might just finally give her the attention she deserves".[21] In a rave review for Paste, Madison Desler stated that "for an album that's fifteen tracks to be this consistently good is ... an artistic triumph that should place it on every Best Of list at the end of the year", concluding the album "perhaps signal[s] a legend in the making."[3] Q critic Rupert Howe praised Uchis' "natural pop charisma and ... ability to glide effortlessly between genres".[22] For Rolling Stone, Joe Levy praised the album as "fascinating" and simultaneously "vintage and futuristic", comparing it to the works of Beck and Outkast.[2] In a five-star review Thomas Smith of NME commented that "miraculously, [the album] feels in no way forced: it's a joy to witness her glide into any genre and totally own it".[1] For Exclaim!, A. Harmony scored the album an eight out of ten and wrote the album "bends genres to her will rather than allowing them to absorb her identity, making for an impressive effort that will only improve as it ages."[20]

For Pitchfork, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd wrote that Isolation "positions her to become a new gravitational force in pop".[4] Pitchfork also included the album at number 38 on its list of 50 best albums of 2018, with Daphne Carr writing that it "pays tribute to pop's past while making it sound new through glowing homage to black and Latinx jukebox favorites and a global roster of collaborations housed in classic soul/R&B aesthetics."[23]

Accolades[edit]

Year-end lists
Publication List Rank Ref.
GQ Russia The 20 Best Albums of 2018
10
Pitchfork The 50 Best Albums of 2018
38
NPR The 50 Best Albums of 2018
9
Billboard The 50 Best Albums of 2018
16
The Guardian The 50 Best Albums of 2018
21
Dazed The 20 Best Albums of 2018
11
Stereogum The Best Albums of 2018
28
Spin 51 Best Albums of 2018: Staff Picks
20
The A.V. Club The best pop and R&B albums of 2018
Exclaim! Top 10 Soul and R&B Albums
3

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from album's liner notes.[33]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Body Language" (Intro)2:16
2."Miami" (featuring Bia)
4:04
3."Just a Stranger" (featuring Steve Lacy)
  • Romil
  • Lacy
2:58
4."Flight 22"
  • Gordon
  • Uchis
  • Rowe
3:37
5."Your Teeth in My Neck"
  • Uchis
  • Afolabi Osinulu
  • Asa Davis
  • Kevin Arcilla
  • Kyle D. Branham
The Wlderness3:06
6."Tyrant" (featuring Jorja Smith)
3:24
7."Dead to Me"
Two Inch Punch3:20
8."Nuestro Planeta" (featuring Reykon)
The Rude Boyz3:23
9."In My Dreams" (featuring Gorillaz)Gorillaz3:21
10."Gotta Get Up" (Interlude)
  • Crocker
  • Midas Touch
  • Gitty
1:53
11."Tomorrow"Parker3:10
12."Coming Home" (Interlude)
  • Sounwave
  • Kurstin
2:40
13."After the Storm" (featuring Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins)BadBadNotGood3:27
14."Feel Like a Fool"
  • Uchis
  • Crocker
Crocker3:05
15."Killer"
  • Uchis
  • Gordon
2:52
Total length:46:30

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a vocal producer.
  • "Nuestro Planeta" translates to "Our Planet"

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from album's liner notes.[33]

Musicians

  • Thundercat – bass, guitar, drums (track 1)
  • David Andrew Sitek – guitar, bass (track 2)
  • DJ Dahi – keyboards, programming (track 2)
  • Tommy Brenneck – guitar (tracks 4, 15)
  • Wayne Gordon – guitar, glockenspiel (track 4); string arrangement (tracks 4, 15)
  • Nick Movshon – bass (tracks 4, 15)
  • Victor Axelrod – piano (tracks 4, 15)
  • Dave Guy – trumpet (tracks 4, 15)
  • Neal Sugarman – tenor saxophone (tracks 4, 15)
  • Cochemea Gastelum – baritone saxophone (tracks 4, 15)
  • Coco Taguchi – violin (tracks 4, 15)
  • Garo Yellin – cello (tracks 4, 15)
  • Homer Steinweiss – drums (tracks 4, 15)
  • Bosco Mann – string arrangement (tracks 4, 15)
  • Asa Davis – keyboards, bass (track 5)
  • Kevin Arcilla – electric guitar, bass (track 5)
  • TJ Osinulu – drums (track 5)
  • Sounwave – keyboards (track 6), drums (track 12), programming (tracks 6, 12)
  • Larrance Dopson – keyboards, programming (track 6)
  • Jairus Mozee – guitar (track 6)
  • Two Inch Punch – bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, programming (track 7)
  • John Foyle – synthesizers, guitars, programming (track 7)
  • The Rude Boyz – keyboards, programming (track 8)
  • Damon Albarn – vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, programming, drums, percussion (track 9)
  • Jeff Gitty – guitar (track 10)
  • Josh Crocker – programming (tracks 10, 14), guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion (track 14)
  • Kevin Parker – guitar, bass, keyboards, programming, drums, percussion (track 11)
  • Greg Kurstin – synthesizers, piano, Moog, Rhodes (track 12)
  • Chester Hansen – synthesizers, bass (track 13)
  • Matthew Tavares – Rhodes (track 13)
  • Leland Whitty – guitars (track 13)
  • Alexander Sowinski – drums, percussion (track 13)
  • Simon Guzman – conga (track 15)

Technical

  • Keith Parry – recording (tracks 1, 2, 10, 15)
  • Kyle VandeKerkhoff – recording (track 3)
  • Wayne Gordon – recording (track 4)
  • Simon Guzman – recording (tracks 4, 15)
  • Eric Stenman – recording (tracks 5, 9, 11, 12)
  • James Musshorn – recording (track 5, 6, 9, 11, 12)
  • Matthew Emonson – recording (track 5)
  • Todd Bergman – recording (track 6)
  • Two Inch Punch – recording, mixing (track 7)
  • Mavig – recording, mixing (track 8)
  • Vic Wainstein – recording (track 13)
  • Brandon Kelly – recording (track 14), engineering assistance (tracks 1, 2)
  • Jeff Ellis – mixing (tracks 1–3, 5, 6, 9, 11–15)
  • Tony Maserati – mixing (track 4)
  • John Foyle – mixing (track 7)
  • Timothy Nguyen – mix assistance (tracks 1–3, 5, 6, 9–15)
  • Chico Torres – mix assistance (tracks 1–3, 5, 6, 9–15)
  • Josh Crocker – mix assistance (track 14, 15)
  • Dave Kutch – mastering (all tracks)

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[34] 65
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[35] 189
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[36] 70
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[37] 96
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[38] 2
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[39] 72
UK Albums (OCC)[40] 62
US Billboard 200[41] 32

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[42] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Smith, Thomas (April 7, 2018). "Kali Uchis – 'Isolation' Review". NME. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Levy, Joe (April 5, 2018). "Review: Kali Uchis' 'Isolation' Proves She's an Exciting Young Talent". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Desler, Madison (April 2, 2018). "Kali Uchis: Isolation Review". Paste. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Shepherd, Julianne Escobedo (April 11, 2018). "Kali Uchis: Isolation". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Hughes, Kayleigh (April 6, 2018). "Kali Uchis Joins the Neo-Soul Pantheon with Isolation". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  6. ^ Aswad, Jem; Barker, Andrew; Willman, Chris (December 14, 2020). "Year in Review: The Best Albums of 2020". Variety. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  7. ^ "Isolation by Kali Uchis". Apple Music. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Gaca, Ana (March 15, 2018). "Kali Uchis Announces Album, Performs with Tyler, the Creator on Fallon". Spin. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Boyd, Sophia (8 April 2018). "Kali Uchis Finds Her Peace In 'Isolation' : NPR". NPR. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Waite, Kelsey (15 December 2018). "The best pop and R&B albums of 2018". Music. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  11. ^ Lynch, Joe (19 December 2018). "Kali Uchis On Her 2018 Milestones, Wildest Fan Encounters & Hopes for 2019: 'More Trap Songs About Love'". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  12. ^ Suarez, Gary (28 June 2018). "Kali Uchis Prepares To Head Out On Tour, Latinx Artists In Tow". Forbes. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  13. ^ Maicki, Salvatore (20 June 2018). "Kali Uchis is heading out on the "In Your Dreams" tour". The Fader. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  14. ^ Jones, Abbey (March 15, 2018). "Kali Uchis & Tyler, The Creator's 'After the Storm' Performance on 'Fallon': Video". Billboard. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "Isolation by Kali Uchis reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Isolation by Kali Uchis Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  17. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Isolation – Kali Uchis". AllMusic. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  18. ^ Hernandez, Nina (April 6, 2018). "Kali Uchis, Isolation". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  19. ^ Hussain, Shahzaib (April 9, 2018). "Kali Uchis – Isolation". Clash. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Harmony, A. (April 11, 2018). "Kali Uchis: Isolation". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  21. ^ a b O'Connor, Roisin; Kaplan, Ilana; Hasted, Nick (April 4, 2018). "Album reviews: Manic Street Preachers, Kali Uchis, Eels, Hinds and Kylie Minogue". The Independent. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Howe, Rupert (May 2018). "Centre Stage". Q (384): 113.
  23. ^ Carr, Daphne (2018-12-11). "The 50 Best Albums of 2018". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  24. ^ "Лучшие музыкальные альбомы 2018 года" [The Best Albums of 2018]. GQ (Russia). November 28, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  25. ^ Lobenfeld, Claire. "The 50 Best Albums of 2018 - Page 2". Pitchfork. No. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  26. ^ "The 50 Best Albums Of 2018 (10-1)". NPR.org. No. 4 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  27. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2018: Staff Picks". Billboard. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  28. ^ "The 50 best albums of 2018: 50-7". The Guardian. 4 December 2018.
  29. ^ "The 20 best albums of 2018". Dazed. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  30. ^ "The Best Albums of 2018". Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  31. ^ "51 Best Albums of 2018: Staff Picks". Spin. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Exclaim!'s Top 10 Soul and R&B Albums". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  33. ^ a b Isolation (CD liner notes). Kali Uchis. Virgin Records. 2018.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  34. ^ "Ultratop.be – Kali Uchis – Isolation" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  35. ^ "Ultratop.be – Kali Uchis – Isolation" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  36. ^ "Kali Uchis Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  37. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kali Uchis – Isolation" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  38. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. April 16, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  39. ^ "Kali Uchis – Isolation" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  40. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  41. ^ "Kali Uchis Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  42. ^ "American album certifications – Kali Uchis – Isolation". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 23, 2022.