Some good soul for our deprived ‘souls’.
After four long awaited years, British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka finally steps back on stage with a much-anticipated second album, Love & Hate. With his debut album Home Again received so well among audiences especially in the UK, the anticipation for his upcoming album had been built up to the roof. And boy, does he do it again. Kiwanuka brings back to the shelves some true soul music and really replenishes our deprived ‘souls’.
Its retro, smooth and loose; everything that is needed to call it a quintessential soul album. Love & Hate contains a total of 10 tracks with majority of slower-tempos. The contents of the album truly reflect the title and appropriately depict this yin and yang relationship throughout his songs. He explores the topic carefully with caution yet very accurately with his pronounced lyrics.
The golden track of this album has to be “Black Man In A White World” and it should be the first track to listen to from this album. This number begins off with rhythmic clapping joined with light electric guitar strumming and gradually progresses with beats, strings, and percussion as it enters the main chorus. It has a retro vibe and doesn’t sound like anything surely made in this decade. As the title states, the message is straightforward and his lyrics hit deep. He sings, “I’m in love but I’m still sad / I’ve found peace but I’m not glad,” as he reflects his identity and place in society. The black and white music video shows a dancing boy in the middle of the street while in the background a police car crashes into a civilian car. The music video portrays the song’s message well and gives audiences something to think about.
“Falling” has a Van Morrison touch with a nicely presented electric guitar solo. “Love & Hate” is quite a lengthy track of 7 minutes but ends in no time with its catchy gospels. It’s a loose and smooth number but with a strong message. “One More Night” embraces a very Fitz and The Tantrums sound added with a little bit more relaxed soul. Taking on to the love-sick songs of Adele, “I’ll Never Love” is a rainy day blues touched upon with some psychedelic sounds. The album ends with “The Final Frame,” and it sure does a good job in closing the curtains to this lovely one-man show.
It’s hard to come across some good soul these days, so hopefully Kiwanuka isn’t absent from the music sphere for too long. In the meantime, Love & Hate is an album that will keep audiences entertained and busy filling their days with some good soul.