21-year-old singer/songwriter Kehlani is taking the world, and the Billboard charts, by storm with her debut album, SweetSexySavage. Having already hit #1 on Billboard’s R&B charts, the album is proving to be a collection of songs that are sweet, sexy and savage, much like the singer herself.
The album starts off with an intro poem read by Reyna Biddy, giving perfect context for the rest of the album. Biddy says, “the truth is, I’m a superwoman and some days I’m an angry woman and some days I’m a crazy woman.” Kehlani is unapologetically complicated, sophisticated and confident; a woman who has experienced so much, and shares her stories in 18 tracks that all make up an album anyone can jam to and appreciate.
What makes the album so successful is its relatability. Each song, while clearly written from Kehlani’s experiences, explore love, heartbreak, vulnerability and edge. Songs like “Advice” and “Piece of Mind” remind us of the pain that comes with falling for someone who doesn’t appreciate you. They’re filled with emotion and soul in every note. In “Advice,” Kehlani sings, “How is the man of my dreams not a man of his words? And how is the man for me just a man that makes me hurt?” The song hits home for anyone who fell for the idea of someone in the past, but knew that person was no good for them.
The album is also stacked with love ballads that will make you want to go out, find that special someone and play them on repeat. “Hold Me By The Heart” is a “deep in love” kind of song. “Lift me from the ground and use your hands / To hold me by the heart / Tell me I’ll be whole again,” Kehlani sings affectionately of someone who saved her from her lowest point. Her song, “Get Like” focuses on a newer love, in which your heart starts to beat too fast and butterflies fill your stomach. On the track, we see a cuter side of Kehlani as she admits she’s “shy and just a little awkward.” Who wouldn’t want to support another fellow awkward human being?
With all this love and heartbreak in the album, it’s only natural for Kehlani to fill the rest with bada** anthems that scream, “I’m Independent and I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m worth something.” These songs stand out as the upbeat jams that anyone would want to turn up to before heading out for the night. Standouts include “Personal” and “CRZY,” which both embrace confidence and self-love to an infectious degree. “If I gotta be a b***h, I’ma be a bad one” has to be the standout line of “CRZY,” as it’s the overall vibe Kehlani gives with everything she does. Despite all the hardships Kehlani endured over the past year, she proved that she could focus it all into her music, and put all those who hurt her to shame.
Kehlani sought to share her experiences as a sweet, sexy, savage woman and all of that comes across in her debut album. I dare you to not get all the feels when you listen to this. It’s impossible.