Review: Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again

by ClaireDallas | 5/21/12
7.0ARTIST INFO

Michael Kiwanuka’s new album 2012, Home Again, is one of those rare listens that fools you into thinking it was recorded waay back in the day in Motown. Seriously, if someone had played this album for me and told me it was recorded in 1967, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

British by way of Uganda, Kiwanuka channels soul legends like Bill Withers, Otis Redding and Marvin (no last name needed) on his first full-length album. He was crowned the winner of BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll, so too bad if you aren’t into it. Those Brits are!  

Home Again is chock full of soulful jams and happy songs that are going to be the perfect soundtrack to lazy late summer nights from now until the end of time. A few of the not as Motown-esque songs have a sort of Jack Johnson vibe, if you’re into that. (No judgement here.)

Kiwanuka’s vocal range is one of the only things lacking. He’s nowhere close to the voices of Marvin or Otis, so don’t worry boys. But he works what he’s got, so, respeck.

My other complaint is his song writing doesn’t display the same ear for a great pop song that Holland-Dozier-Holland will always be the kings of. The album is good, but I don’t know if any of the songs have that extra something that Berry Gordy was so good at picking out.

The first track, “Tell Me A Tale,” is pure early Motown, with a dash of jazz. By that description alone, I know I’m going to enjoy it. I’m predictable, what can I say? The video has the same “made in the 60s or maybe made now?” vibe as the rest of the album.

 

Bones” sounds like it belongs in the movie montage of a rom-com set during Christmas time. So do with that what you will. His voice sounds a bit like Randy Newman on this one, so maybe that’s why it screams movie soundtrack to me. Note: these are all good things.

"Home Again" is the best song on the album imop.

In summary: Are you down with the singer/songwriter Motown? Then check out Michael Kiwanuka’s album 2012, Home Again. Expect good, but not great. Or maybe I just have high standards for my soul music.

 

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