Kehlani's Melancholy Is Muddled on 'It Was Good Until It Wasn't'
Published May 13, 2020It Was Good Until It Wasn't sounds like a series of pitiful, bewildering text messages with an ex-lover paired with misleading simultaneous texts shared in a friends' group chat — neither set of texts are coherent. Kehlani has a sublime skill in conveying her hardships and heartache, but fails to bring these tales to the forefront in a train of thought worth following as a cohesive project.
Kehlani's sophomore album was expected to expand on the messy coming-of-age love affairs and promises of personal growth found on SweetSexySavage, but It Was Good Until It Wasn't wallows in the dismay of yet another set of disappointments. The self-proclaimed follower of Aaliyah and Tupac — whose music often pays homage to '90s R&B — lacks the clever subtlety of innuendos on songs like "Can I" (featuring Tory Lanez) and "F&MU." "Bad News," "Everybody Business" and "Open (Passionate)" are the album's standouts, showcasing elements of Kehlani's strongest contributions to music thus far, and highlighting her ability to make vulnerability a strength.
The album's outlook can be reduced to a line on "Everybody Business": "At my big ol' age / I can't be fazed / By what you mistake as going insane,"but there's little explanation for these convoluted ballads other than a lapse in judgment.