(Copyright © 2018 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Take Me Apart (2017), 5/10
Raven (2023), 5/10

Kelela Mizanekristos, a second-generation Ethiopian-American born in Washington, debuted with the mixtape Cut 4 Me (2013) and the EP Hallucinogen (2015). The album Take Me Apart (2017) was an industrial product designed by a cast of producers that included Jam City (Jack Latham), Ariel Rechtshaid and Arca (Alejandro Ghersi), a huge investment to turn her into a pop star. The arrangements are as conventional, predictable, abused and traditional as possible, as proven by the singles LMK and Frontline. Any teenager could do them if only was granted access to multimillion dollar studios. And her lyrics are beyond ridiculous. The monumental effort by her owners resulted in massive media coverage, but also in one of the most tedious albums of the year. The songs sound all the same, but maybe Blue Light is the one that raises a bit over the shallow standard.

Raven (2023) was perhaps more refined (depending on the definition of "refined") but ultimately just wallpaper, background muzak for lounge socializing. Some songs are almost ambient (Let it Go, Holier Divorce), one is almost psychedelic (Fooley), some are almost gospel (Raven). The African-tinged arrangements of Missed Call are embarrassing but the Afro-futuristic beat of Bruises is a highlight.

(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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