Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanuka

In my previous post for HBO's Big Little Lies I mentioned Michael Kiwanuka and how his song "Cold Little Heart" serves as the opening credits song for each episode (scroll below for a preview of the track). In my many hours of binge watching this weekend, it is safe to say this catchy song is embedded in my head for life.  I had never heard the haunting song before and I could not stop singing/humming it throughout the day so I sought out to do some research to get my fix. I found the album available for checkout on the library's streaming service Hoopla. If you do not yet have a Hoopla account, it is very easy to use and will be the best way to stream the entire Love & Hate album for free. Stop by any library location for more information.

Michael Kiwanuka was born in London in 1987 to Ugandan refugee parents. While studying jazz at the Royal Academy of music and pop music at Westminister University he was influenced by such artists as Joni Mitchell, Radiohead, Otis Redding, and Jimi Hendrix. In an NPR interview he states his true love is folk-rock but thanks to his aching, bluesy voice, he is often pigeon holed as a soul artist. Whatever genre you call it, his music stands for itself. Love & Hate is his second album released in 2016. "Cold Little Heart" is the first track coming in at 10:10 minutes long with a solid 5 minute instrumental intro. The song has most likely gained popularity for its commercial use and has a shortened radio edited version available. 

"Black Man in a White World" is the next track, addressing his bicultural upbringing, where he repeats the phrase over and over again. The music video to the song has an equally subtle but effective impact and, as seen in this weekend's news, this is still a prevalent subject matter as it was a year ago. Throughout the album Kiwanuka is backed by a full choir adding a richness not seen in the stripped down folky first album Home Again.The rest of the songs on the album, like "Falling" and "I'll Never Love," are a bittersweet mix of 60's soul and melancholy heartfelt lyrics of love lost.

So check out Kiwanuka's tunes and explore some new artists off our Hoopla streaming app.  For more soulful music from Big Little Lies check out Coming Home by Leon Bridges. Need music to make you melt into a weeping puddle on the floor check out Victim of Love by Charles Bradley and Spirit by Amos Lee.

Review by Stevie Z.

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