Less than a year since her last studio album, Red Moon In Venus, a vibrant r&b project debuting at #4 on the ‘Billboard 200’ with a unique Latin American flavour including viral hits such as ‘Moonlight’ in addition to her incredible collaborations with Summer Walker and Don Toliver, Kali Uchis returns with her fourth studio album and second album dedicated to the Spanish language: ORQUÍDEAS. An album with a title that translates to the gorgeous flowers that are orchids, it appears that Kali is aiming to provide us with some colour in January, which is often a dull month for many. But will she succeed?

Kali Uchis is an award-winning singer songwriter raised between both Virginia and Columbia. With many hits to her name and projects with critical acclaim in her fairly short career so far, Kali has become a staple in the current pop music scene. Often applauded for her widespread versatility, Kali has collaborated with some of the biggest names across genres. Whether that be for hip-hop extraordinaire, Tyler, The Creator or with dance producer KAYTRANADA for her Grammy award winning song ‘10%’. The sky is the limit for Kali Uchis!

With the singles leading up to ORQUÍDEAS, it seemed clear to many that this album will take a completely Latin approach, which I was looking forward to as I thoroughly enjoyed her 2020 release of the same nature, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞. The first of the three singles released was ‘Muñekita’ which translates to little doll. This is a reggaeton inspired track featuring rappers El Alfa and JT and it is nothing short of outstanding. The chorus provided by Kali’s smooth vocals, although lyrically doesn’t require any deep analysis, is one of her most fun and catchiest yet. Furthermore, the performances from both features are welcome additions, supplying us with witty yet vulgar bars and entertaining flows over the bouncy production.

My favourite single leading up to this album release, however, is the track titled ‘Te Mata’ which translates to ‘It Kills You’. This is listed as the sixth song on ORQUÍDEAS and definitely sounds as dramatic as the title suggests. The track begins with a very theatrical 30 second intro including a Spanish guitar and other string instruments being implemented in the buildup as well as a short dialogue from Kali before the first verse truly kicks in. “Vea Pues, A mi me gusta que vean lo feliz que soy sin ellos” (“Watch it, I like it when they see how happy I am without them”).  This intro is perfect for this track’s context with its vengeful, passionate approach. Kali’s vocals on this track are absolutely stunning, displaying so much soul and range from start to finish and this tends to be a common theme throughout the whole record.

As for the rest of the album as a whole, the opening track ‘¿Cómo Así?’ is a bright way to start the project. Although, it is relatively short in its duration and quite simple in terms of its structure, as an intro track it does everything it needs to do. Production wise, ‘¿Cómo Así?’ feels very dance-inspired and the drums on this track are very jumpy and a vital part of why it is so enjoyable.

Nevertheless, as incredible as this album may be, it will be more or less impossible for anyone to make a track as blissful and magical as ‘Igual Que Un Ángel’! This track from start to finish is the epitome of euphoria with its heaven sent, groovy production complimented perfectly by Kali’s soothing vocals. The song itself covers a story about a girl who, despite her beauty, yearns for peace rather than money, fame or superficial love. Described as an ‘angel’ and ‘unattainable princess’ in Spanish by Kali and Peso Pluma who has a focused and admirable feature, the woman on this track is presented to have a pure heart and soul but also be a very strong individual who is favoured by God. ‘Igual Que Un Ángel’ proves to any of her doubters that Kali Uchis is not just a voice but also a very talented songwriter and she doesn’t get credited enough for that.

As we delve further into the album, Kali Uchis starts to take a slower approach to this irresistible track list with ‘Perdiste’ being a short but sweet toe tapper describing a failed relationship with a “right person, wrong time” kind of feel to it. Followed by the extremely sensual ‘Young Rich & In Love’.  A Spanglish slow jam with one of Kali’s best performances on the whole project despite cliche lines like “Ride into the sunset”.

However, despite how consistent and well put together ORQUÍDEAS is as an overall project, the final track on the album took me by surprise on the first listen. ‘Dame Beso // Muévete’ is a tremendously fast paced track that seems to take inspiration from traditional Latin American and Spanish music. This instantly takes us to a classic carnival-like setting, and I wasn’t too sure what to make of it. However, after listening to the recording further, I am certain that this is the best possible end to what is another fantastic album by Kali Uchis.

ORQUÍDEAS not only showcases the beauty that all forms of Latin music include, but also brings a stupendous amount of colour and joy to our ears in the often-miserable month of January. On this record Kali Uchis displays flawless versatility and bravery and emphasizes yet again why she is one of the most exciting artists in the current music landscape. I think it is safe to say that 2024 is off to a strong start!

Kali Uchis: Orquídeas – Out 12th January 2024 (Geffen Records)

Uchis, El Alfa, JT – Muñekita [Official Visualizer] (youtube.com)