“Today I drop another song in Spanish which I know means another day of disappointment for my English speaking fans who do not wish to make the attempt to listen to music in languages they can’t understand,” Kali Uchis tweeted back in October. Seconds later, she added a caveat – mono or bilingual, she appreciates everyone’s support as she navigates “starting practically as a new artist in a whole other territory”.
Whether you’ve spent the last few months being pestered by a cartoon owl to keep up with memorising basic Spanish or you’re fully fluent, Uchis’ second album – and her first full Spanish release – is more proof, if you needed it, that language barriers don’t need to restrict our enjoyment of music.
Tune into any of the emotions on ‘Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞’ – which translates to ‘Without Fear (Of Love And Other Demons)’ – and you’ll find that to be the case. ‘Vaya con dios’ is presented with Bond-level drama, Uchis’ voice soft, stunning and full of bittersweet devotion. “I say your name in my prayers / You, my angel and my saint,” she sighs. “I don’t know if I’ll see him again, go with God.”
‘Te pongo mal(prendelo)’, which features Puerto Rican duo Jowell & Randy, is full of swagger, the three artists swapping flirty lines over a shaking reggaeton base. “I have a flow that is worth gold,” Uchis boasts, dropping a warning that’s hard to argue with a few lines later: “Don’t get obsessed.” On ‘Telepatía’, dreamy pastel synths craft a romantic atmosphere, her vocals adapting to match as she sings about “mak[ing] love through telepathy”.
Uchis might be very much in control on ‘Sin Miedo…’, but it’s not entirely a one-woman show. As well as teaming up with Jowell & Randy, she also ropes in contributions from PartyNextDoor, Puerto Rican singer Jhay Cortez and San Juan producer Tainy. Best of all, though, is the Rico Nasty-featuring ‘¡aquí yo mando!’, one of the record’s sexiest and most thrilling cuts. “I’m ya lil mamacita / You do everything I say,” Uchis purrs enticingly, later passing the mic to the rapper for a vibrant verse of her own.
Speaking about the record last year, Uchis told People CHICA that she was “really going back to my roots, experimenting more with my music, not thinking so hard and not trying so hard”. On ‘Sin Miedo…’, she oozes effortless confidence as she follows her songs down an eclectic map of trails. Language barrier or not, it’s a divine second album.
Release date: November 18, 2020