After releasing a 9-track mixtape one year ago, Kehlani gave her fans hope when she teased the release of a full-length album. Since releasing single “Toxic” and homemade music video in March, Kehlani wrote and produced her new album, “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t.” The album, released on May 8, has 15 tracks and two skits, each song going back to her original R&B roots.
“It Was Good Until It Wasn’t” contains a collection of good music, detailing Kehlani’s love life and maturity after giving birth to her now one-year-old daughter, Adeya. This album was worth the wait. Across all genres, it is by far my favorite album that has been released in the last year. It’ll be on repeat for quite a while.
The album opens with the slow beat of the first track, “Toxic,” which is now my favorite song Kehlani’s ever released. A sequence of my three favorite songs on the album follows— “Can I,” “Bad News” and “Real Hot Girl Skit.”
“Toxic” is a slower R&B song that speaks on her past relationship with American rapper, YG. She sings about how even though she’s grown up, love can be toxic and addictive while still acknowledging that her self worth is more important than any relationship. In the song, she hints that she was expected to act and behave a certain way with a man. While he surrounds himself with drama, she is blamed for most of the problems.
“Can I” features Tory Lanez and is one of the more sexual songs on the album. It speaks on being with somebody in a causal relationship despite them belonging to another until one of them starts to grow stronger feelings. It is a song for anyone in a tricky situation with their lovers but still liking the passion that comes with not being in a serious relationship. However, this message changes as “Bad News” goes deeper into how a serious relationship is what she wants as she pleads with a lover to choose her over a lifestyle that is threatening their relationship.
At this point in the album, “Real Hot Girl Skit,” voiced by Megan Thee Stallion, shifts the mood as it’s almost like a reminder that you’re the one in control of your life. She brags about how her confidence is what attracts men, which is something that Kehlani has deemed a vital characteristic for a mature person to have.
Her confidence comes through songs like “Water” and “Change Your Life,” which features Jhene Aiko. These two songs are about embracing your sexual power as a woman, bragging about how she knows she is irresistible, and her power to change her lover’s life for the better. I highly recommend listening to these songs before a night out. It’s a real confidence booster for anyone who wants to feel strong and confident feminine energy.
My favorite section of the whole album is the “Belong To The Streets Skit.” The entire skit is a bunch of men talking about Kehlani, dissing the fact that she has had multiple relationships, and “always having a different man.” This part amplifies how hypocritical the public can be as men are praised for jumping from relationship to relationship but then say that Kehlani “belongs to the streets” for doing the same. It was a significant call out to men and media outlets that feel like they have an opinion on her relationships because she makes them public, making it “Everybody’s Business,” which is the name of the following song. She addresses rumors that have surrounded her previous relationships but also on how, at her age, she is now unfazed by what random people have to say about her.
There is a significant theme of standing up for oneself in the remainder of the album. Including the skits was something that Kehlani hasn’t done before; however, they built the entire album into an easily understandable story, and I believe everyone can find one song they can relate to. Self-isolation and distance are also recurring themes, extremely prevalent on the track “Can You Blame Me,” where she grapples with the longing for affection and comprising her pride for someone who doesn’t deserve it. Kehlani sings, “hold my grudge instead of none to hold,” conveying that her craving for love blinds her logical reasoning.
R&B has always been the music genre for expressing lost love and struggle, and “It Was Good Until It Wasn’t” captured that message perfectly. As a long time Kehlani fan, it is very apparent that there is a maturity that wasn’t there before, and her storytelling skills have made each song into its work of art. I recommend that everyone give this album a listen if you’re ready for all the feelings Kehlani WILL give you.