Kelela is one of the truly forward-thinking, experimental artists of her generation. She manages to reinvent the R&B genre, while nodding to her predecessors, and maintaining an accessible place in pop music. Her first full debut album Take Me Apart is a very complex, multi-layered collection of tracks that intricately interweave adjacent genres into something that feels fresh, exciting, new. Few musicians can achieve the inclusion of immediately catchy hooks in a track that also reveals more and more of itself with dozens of listens. Kelela makes it look natural. She is a stellar song writer — intelligent, sexy, and self-aware.
Take Me Apart is an album full of desire, troubles of the heart, but never outright longing. There is a sense that Kelela remains in control of her emotions, keeping a step ahead of her lovers. The fact that she is a queer black woman, making music about love, sex, and relationships adds an extra layer of respect for the artist.
Blue Light is an exemplary track from the album, perhaps one of the best. The video is a strange, powerful, yet arrestingly simple concept that fixates the viewer with effortless ease. The singer is the centre focus, dressed in bright yellow Issey Miyake, writhing amongst growing vines of her dreads, entrapped in the confines of her own seduction. As in other videos, she confronts the viewer with an unwavering gaze, reinforcing her power in every situation she describes in Take Me Apart, no matter how vulnerable she might sound. I recommend you plug in your headphones and spin the album on repeat for a day — it only gets better with time.