Kehlani: Blue Water Road review – slow and sensual

It’s been two years since Kehlani’s last album, It Was Good Until It Wasn’t, debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200. For an artist who once competed in America’s Got Talent, they have managed to create an identity that feels authentic and, well, cool. On their third project, the Oakland-born singer delivers an onslaught of glistening vocals in 13 tracks that are mostly yearning.

The opener, Little Story, is a pared-down, guitar-heavy number in which Kehlani talks about a relationship that feels unresolved. “I want you to love me again,” they sing. Tracks such as Any Given Sunday are narrative-heavy – verses are anecdotes and choruses are questions for old and new lovers. Lyrics such as “Is it really cheating if she ain’t loving me right?” on More Than I Should stand out for their ruthlessness. While Everything glows with simple, celestial harmonies, Wish I Never provides a welcome respite from this slow and sensual body of work. It samples Montell Jordan’s 90s classic This is How We Do It. Though not as affecting as the original, if we’re talking about club bangers, Kehlani makes it their own.