Michael Kiwanuka – ‘Love & Hate’ Album Review

7/10

Release Date: 15th July 2016

Label: Polydor

Michael Kiwanuka is back with his second-debut album, Love & Hate, and after some serious soul-searching, he has a lot say.

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Four years after the release of his hugely successful first album, Home Again (2012), the Ugandan-British Singer/Guitarist has hooked up with critically acclaimed Hip-Hop producer, Danger Mouse (produced The Gorillaz, The Black Keys, and is also well known for being the other half of Gnarls Barkley), to create a compelling comeback. The whopping ten-minute opener Cold Little Heart melts from an intriguing instrumental into MK’s velvety ‘Otis Redding-esque’ crooning vocals effortlessly, and sets us up for the completely different troubled tones that this album has to offer.

This brilliantly bittersweet and much more mature album confronts the politically sensitive topics of racial identity, spirituality, and religion (just to mention a few) head on. Michael Kiwanuka has really found his voice this time around, and is not shying away from his inner struggles and anxieties, but is using them as fuel to feed the fire in his belly. This can clearly be heard in the controversially catchy: Black Man In A White World, which MK coined himself as “slave music”! The album is confrontational and encourages to take a risk and to ask those questions that aren’t often asked.

If you grew up with the soulful sounds of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield or Bill Withers you may find that this thought-provoking album feels reminiscent of that blues background, yet it has so much more to offer than just sounding like reboot of those popular vintage soul artists. Love & Hate is an intriguing, modern and political take on Soul/R&B, and is wrapped up neatly with MK’s emotionally honest: The Final Frame, a heartfelt and tender last song about the end of a relationship, and the definitive finale to this album.

You can check out One More Night and other worthy ear-worms by Michael Kiwanuka below:

 

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