Kali Uchis’ sixties-inspired Por Vida is as fresh as a beach breeze.
Kali Uchis will not put up with bullshit. Lame dudes may mistake her coy voice, retro pastel aesthetic, on point makeup and sugary tunes for a sweet pushover, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Not all of Kali Uchis’ jabs are as tough as “Ridin’ Round”‘s (“Baby, understand, I don’t need a man / Fuck me over, I’ll fuck you worse, then take off to Japan”) but the message is clear: Treat Kali Uchis less than she deserves, and she’ll realize she “should have left your ass in the friendzone,” from the self-aware “Know What I Want.” Still, her romantic side shines through on debut EP Por Vida, especially on the back-to-back smitten “Melting” and “Lottery”: “Your smile ignites just like a candlelight / Then somehow I know everything is alright.” Kali Uchis shows off her range of vocal styles on a cappella opening track “Sycamore Tree,” layering sweet, airy and cooing tones with a deep, soulful and biting hook.
Tyler, the Creator and BADBADNOTGOOD top the roster of Por Vida‘s producers, who keep Kali Uchis’ love of sixties sound as fresh as a beach breeze. A resident of LA via Virginia via Colombia, the chill West Coast influences mixed with her Latin background help create Kali Uchis’ signature tropical doo-wop sound and candy throwback look. “Rush”, produced by Kaytranada and BBNG, is the EP’s grooviest track, which simultaneously makes you want to grab a partner for a proper Latin ballroom routine and bob your head and bounce like the coolest dude in the club. Closing song “Loner” puts a baby pink bow on Por Vida‘s back-and-forth extremes of “go on and bite me” and “boy just call me” with what should be at the top of the “I’m dating myself!” playlist. Kali Uchis is tired of being treated like an “ashtray” and puts an end to a toxic relationship because that’s not what she, or anyone, deserves: “And maybe you got a full plate / Know I’m cookin’ something better.”