Kenya Grace Opens Up On 'The After Taste' [Album Review]

Ben Wego

Kenya Grace gained immense traction with her liquid creations using her soundboard and lyrics that depict the harsh realities of hookup culture and online dating. Her song “Strangers” became a Billboard hit and she’s garnered 26 million Spotify monthly listeners to date, along with spots on notable music festivals lineups. 

'The After Taste' is her first cumulative project featuring her singles “Strangers,” “Only In My Mind” and “It’s Not Fair” - all of which were originally TikTok freestyles. Grace embodies a trance-like whisper over soothing lofi hyperpop beats, creating a late night drive ambience. Her style is addictive and niche, incorporating personal lyrics about failed relationships born out of the technological generation. Online dating has become a pervasive landscape which many (including Grace) have to navigate their way through unsure of the future nature of relationships formed. This is especially prevalent on “Strangers.” 

On “It's Not Fair” Kenya Grace blends nostalgic imagery to encapsulate the good times in a past relationship; “All the nights in summertime I was yours, and you were mine / We were young, I was dumb / Now you're happy and you moved on.” She’s unsatisfied with the way things ended and is angry that this person can move on so quickly while she’s stuck in the past. “And my mum said she saw you stood with somebody new / She said, "What went wrong with you two? / Well, I wish I knew.” 

Her simplistic electronic production, meshed with her thought provoking lyrics, creates an infectious nostalgic energy within listeners. On “Hey, Hi, How are you?” she channels more of these nostalgic feelings and regret - “Hey, hi, how are you? I've been trying to call you / Life's hard without you and I can't seem to get through.” On “Stay” she recalls the toxicity of a relationship and her unwillingness to leave that person. On “My baby loves to dance” over a europop club beat she can’t help shake the feeling that her partner is cheating, staying out late at the club while she struggles to fall asleep wondering where he is. 

Kenya Grace has cultivated a style that is niche but is compelling, drawing from electronic influences and heartbreak themes to generate a relatable immersifying experience. Her techno capabilities with liquid drum and bass instill a technological familiarity within listeners seen in techno while her lyrics are enveloped with nostalgic roots and emotionally driven narratives.

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