In her latest release, Kali Uchis uses her dreamy melodies and heartful voice to create music using both Spanish and English lyrics. With a title that translates in English to Without Fear (of Love and Other Demons) ∞, originally Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞, Uchis uses the themes of love and sensuality that initially earned her the spotlight. She includes well-executed homages to Latin American classics; however, beyond those and some remarkable reggaeton tracks, Uchis fails to present anything new. Her record introduces a few notable songs, but she does not entirely dive in and instead chooses to play it safe.
Uchis pays homage to Cuban artists Los Zafiros and La Lupe. In “La Luna Enamorada,” she immerses herself in the bolero genre and beautifully sings Los Zafiros’ lyrics. Furthermore, “Que Te Pedí//” keeps the same melody as La Lupe’s original track, but Uchis’ strong vocals give it a unique sound. While both covers stand out on the record, they are each less than two minutes long — the short running time inhibits Uchis from executing a successful homage. She also hinders the opportunity to showcase her timeless talent by only having two songs in the bolero style on her album. Rather than experimenting with other kinds of music, she fills her record with songs such as “Telepatía,” which offer nothing new from her prior work.
Additionally, “La Luz (Fín)” and “Te Pongo Mal (Prendelo)” bring reggaeton to Sin Miedo. Practicing within this genre highlights an exciting facet in Uchis’ artistry. Featuring Puerto Rican duo Jowell Y Randy, “Te Pongo Mal (Prendelo)” brings back the classic sounds of 2000s reggaeton. The song’s lyrics exude sexuality and confidence, with Uchis and Jowell Y Randy provocatively responding to one other in their verses. While “La Luz (Fín)” is not as impressive as “Te Pongo Mal (Prendelo),” its feature by Jhay Cortez perfectly contrasts Uchis’ soft vocals. Both tracks are a statement of Uchis’ shape-shifting talent. Once again, however, she holds back by only releasing two songs in the genre. Like her immersion to bolero, Uchis teases listeners with a few reggaeton tracks but fails to further explore the genre, instead going back to her lulling R&B and pop melodies.
While Uchis fails to fully immerse herself in new styles, her familiar-sounding songs are not unpleasant. Tracks such as “Fue Mejor” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR showcase Uchis’ hypnotizing voice with somewhat hidden but luring harp and flute melodies. Similarly, “//aguardiente y limón %ᵕ‿‿ᵕ%” highlights Uchis’ soothing vocals and mesmerizing, sweet beats. These tracks may not be as outstanding as the new styles she experiments with, but they do reinforce her ability to create a dreamy atmosphere through music.
Both Spanish and English are prominent in all of the album’s tracks, but Uchis misses the opportunity to intricately switch between the languages. In “Quiero Sentirme Bien,” she sings, “En este mundo solo vengo de visita/ Not many people know me, but hey it was nice to meet ya.” While the rhyme between these two lines is simple, it smoothly connects both languages within the same verse. Unfortunately, she rarely uses this method, and instead sticks to keeping Spanish and English separated. Rather than being playful with bilingualism or incorporating the Spanglish she grew up speaking, her lyrics stick to a simpler, less exciting approach.
All in all, Uchis’ new album is a teaser for the many types of music she can make but chooses not to. While the record could have been a full immersion into Latin genres, here, Uchis decides to keep Sin Miedo in her comfort zone. The soothing melodies she is known for are not necessarily bad, but in her latest release, they fail to showcase her versatility. For now, one can only wait until she is ready to completely step into new genres — and perhaps come out with a full bolero or energetic reggaeton album.
Contact Brany Barragan at [email protected].