Take Me Apart
R&B | Electro-pop
ambient r&b singer kelela takes her time on her essential debut full length ‘take me apart’
By Nathan Leigh
October 9, 2017
Kelela is an artist who takes her damn time. Taking 4 years to complete her debut mixtape, and another 4 to drop a proper debut album, she does things on her own terms. “But I’ll take it slowly, there’s no use in rushing,” she sings to a lover in “S.O.S.” From sparse beats to melodies that take 3 minutes to build to a climax out of a wall of multitracked vocals, Kelela is in full control of time. That mix of patience and a refusal to compromise makes Take Me Apart a rare artistic statement from one of the most essential voices in R&B right now.
The warped synths and spaced out beats that underscore her aching vocals make the album drip with night. Late nights missing an ex, wondering where it all went wrong, or just waiting for someone to come over. There’s a confessional quality to her lyrics, particularly on hightlights “LMK” and “Onanon.” That honesty is on starkest display on the 3 shortest tracks, “Jupiter,” “S.O.S.” and “Bluff.” Barely cracking the 2 minute mark, the trio of songs form the emotional backbone of the record.
Stunners like “Turn To Dust” mutate cellos and synth lines into a bed of longing. “One look at you and I turn to dust,” she sings while her voice skips and echoes beneath waves of strings. The album closes with the almost optimistic “Altadena.” After the late night melodies, it’s hard to hear it as anything other than the morning after. “There’s a place for everyone, let me remind you.”
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