On February 22, 2019, Bay Area R&B artist Kehlani released her latest album, titled While We Wait. The album has pop, R&B, and soul influences, falling in trend with her previous music. However, While We Wait seems to have a more sophisticated tone, which contrasts with Kehlani’s earlier albums and releases. While she is widely known for her catchy melodies, Kehlani grapples with difficult subjects in many of her songs that hit close to the heart. While We Wait is nearly entirely focused on love and her relationships, whether her feelings towards it be of hesitation, excitement, or sadness.
She opens the album with a very sensual and melancholic song titled “Footsteps,” in which she struggles to repair a troubled relationship. Other songs on the album, such as “RPG,” deal with similar subjects. Kehlani shows off her confidence, a key characteristic she exhibits in a lot of her music, on songs like “Morning Glory,” a testimony of her self-confidence regardless of appearance, and her sense of self-worth and deserving of someone who cares for her at all times. “Nunya” is a care-free ode to moving on after a relationship, and not feeling tied down by an ex.
While We Wait certainly meets expectations, especially considering all the recent developments in Kehlani’s life recently. Having had a baby so recently has only made her musical accomplishments all the more impressive.
Kehlani’s newest album shows how she has grown as an artist and really become more mature as a person. While her lyrics are melodic and free-flowing, they still give insight into her emotional intelligence. Many of her lyrics are deep and insightful, truly painting a picture in your mind of what she is singing about. On her opening track, “Footsteps,” she sings, “And when I walked away / I left footsteps in the mud so you could follow me,” giving a vivid image of a broken relationship. Her lucid lyrics on “Footsteps” truly transports the listener into Kehlani’s world, which is an accomplishment in her music in of itself.
However, the album, despite its well-roundedness in describing the ups and downs of love, sometimes feels almost too scripted to be raw emotion. Parts of the album include such a perfect balance of emotions that it seems almost too superficial, as if they were tailor-made to seamlessly fit the songs.
With this being said, throughout her musical career, Kehlani has been known to have surpassed many traumas in her life. From grieving the loss of friends and family to dealing with depression and self-doubt, she has certainly overcome a lot.
Her music has almost always taken an uplifting sentiment on her hardships, which sometimes can make it feel like a sugar-coated version of her true emotions.
All in all, this album presents the confident and savage side of Kehlani’s personality and music style. With its multiple influences from pop, rap, and R&B genres, it caters to a wide audience without changing her signature style. She is certainly not disappearing from the music scene any time soon; on the contrary, it seems her music will only become more sophisticated with her age and experience.