It Was Good Until It Wasn't is Kehlani's open book
Updated: May 24
R&B singer Kehlani released her second album It Was Good Until It Wasn't on May 8th, 2020 under Tsunami Mob and Atlantic Records. The album features Jhene Aiko, Tory Lanez, Masego, James Blake, and Lucky Daye. The 25-year-old singer started her career in 2009 when she was a part of a group called PopLyfe and they auditioned for the TV show called America's Got Talent but at the end of the season's show, Kehlani disbanded from the group to start a solo career. She later created her own buzz on Soundcloud, she released 3 mixtapes, her first studio album SweetSexySavage released in 2017 followed by It Was Good Until It Wasn't. Now her new album will be my first time being exposed to Kehlani's music and before I start writing the review, from what I've listened to, she reminds me of Jhene Aiko who is also featured on the album.
The album starts with the song "Toxic" with background vocals from Ty Dolla $ign. In this song, Kehlani sings about trying to contact back the person with who she ended her relationship, but she realizes that it's useless because everything with that person was toxic. As my first introduction to Kehlani, I got to say that she uses her voice beautifully by drawing a good picture musically with the song's theme. Now many say that the song is about her former boyfriend rapper YG, but Kehlani confirmed on Twitter that the song is about no one, it's just about pain, faith, and trust. Kehlani shows her writing skills in the song "Can I" featuring Tory Lanez where she shows her nasty and dirty side of her, then the song is followed by "Bad News". This song is deep as Kehlani sings about being in a relationship and wants her man to be all to herself and to put everything asides for her which can be a tough decision for someone to do in a relationship. If I'm not mistaken, the song is very special for Kehlani because it's a reference to her parent's relationship who her father was living a street life and lost his life because of it which made it hard for her mother. Then we have a skit called "Real Hot Girl" followed by the song "Water" which is another sex relationship type of beat with a good bouncy instrumental which made the song a good vibe to listen to and one of my favorites so far. The next song is a duo between Kehlani and Jhene Aiko where both artists sing about falling for a man and they want to be part of their lives and change it for the good, and all I can say, what a nice duo it was from both singers. Then we have another skit called "Belong To The Streets".
Halfway through the album, Kehlani continues to sing about her past relationships and her current situation about what's going in her love life and it's no different on the song "Hate The Club" featuring Masego. In this song, Kehlani expresses how she wants to avoid a certain person by hating going to clubs, and what makes this song outstanding from other songs in the album, is the saxophone towards the end of the song. "Serial Lover" is where Kehlani sings about loving hard and being hurt at the same time, which can make you realize it's better to stay single sometimes. Kehlani explained that the theme for this song was about falling out multiples when you're in love either is beginning or getting a relationship and figuring out what's best for you. Then we have the following song called "F&MU" where she sings about fighting with a man, then having sex with him and making up with him. "Can You Blame Me" featuring Lucky Daye is a nice bouncy song with a complicated relationship as the subject followed by the song "Grieving" featuring James Blake and the song has a nice bass as background beat. The next song is divided into 2 parts. Part 1 is called "Open" and it has that bounce back type of beat like 90's R&B bands like Jodeci and H-Twon where Kehlani sings about having an open relationship. Part 2 is called "Passionate" with a slower vibe. The album finishes with the song "Lexii's Outro" where it features Kehlani's close friend Lexii Alijai who passed away on January 1st, 2020.
As my first experience of listening to Kehlani, all I can say is that the woman can sing. I place her on the same level as Jhene Aiko and Keyshia Cole. I say that because on It Was Good Until It Wasn't, I could feel her passion, her love and her pain from her voice of how she was singing and that's what makes an artist a good singer. Kehlani went deep on her relationships and experiences she had, the lust, the mistakes, and the grieving. On a personal side, Kelhani's album is relatable to anyone who are and have faced relationship difficulties. I highly recommend listening to this album as I can put this album in the same categories of 808s & Heartbreaks and Take Care.