Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
Buy On
  1. Nov 1, 2019
    100
    It sounds timeless and contemporary; the instrumental interludes and the stylistic and tempo shifts all hang together because of his warm, sincere vocals and fantastic songwriting.
  2. 100
    As with each of his albums to date, Kiwanuka navigates the past and the present, skilfully making sounds and subjects appear both classic and contemporary at once.
  3. 100
    This is an exceptionally compelling, absorbing, rich, and genuinely human piece of work.
  4. Q Magazine
    Oct 22, 2019
    100
    Magnificent. ... Kiwanuka rewards your commitment from the first second to the last. [Dec 2019, p.104]
  5. Oct 22, 2019
    100
    Ultimately, this is an album in which a troubled spirit seeks the relief of music to mesmerising and charged effect. And that is timeless.
  6. Nov 15, 2019
    90
    It’s very easy for a reviewer to play armchair warrior and forward claims for all sorts of nonsense for music they like. But this is a glorious, heart-stopping, essential album. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it.
  7. Nov 11, 2019
    90
    Michael Kiwanuka has undoubtedly created a timeless album, one made with impressive confidence.
  8. Nov 7, 2019
    90
    [Love & Hate] was a magnificent album, and the formula is continued with the same collaborators to stunning effect on KIWANUKA.
  9. Oct 23, 2019
    90
    Kiwanuka is therapeutic for all parties involved. It's honest, psychedelic, enlightening and recalls blackness defined by acoustic folk and the organic soul of past artists like Gil Scott-Heron, Bobby Womack and Otis Redding.
  10. Uncut
    Oct 22, 2019
    90
    Kiwanuka is loaded with memorable songs, but the best way to experience them is by listening to the album from start to finish. [Nov 2019, p.26]
  11. Nov 4, 2019
    88
    Songs melt into one another without losing their identities. Kiwanuka’s narrators drift through a world torn by violence and racism and find purpose. His voice remains plaintive, understated, deeply textured, but there’s a resolve that wasn’t as evident on his earlier work.
  12. Nov 12, 2019
    85
    An album that could have been a grueling downer from start to finish. Instead, it’s a testament to perseverance, determination and a vivid creative imagination from an artist who seems to have finally found himself, and that’s profound enough.
  13. Nov 14, 2019
    80
    Kiwanuka could very well be one of the best albums of 2019. But Kiwanuka is also a beautiful, deep place that feels like it will be worth visiting, not just in the last month of this year, but throughout a listener's lifetime.
  14. 80
    The record is an introspective mix of psychey soul, blues, rock and funk, which skips and strolls and swaggers through its 13 tracks – but it is not simply an exercise in nostalgia. Its influences span decades; Gil Scott-Heron, Fela Kuti, Kendrick Lamar and Bobby Womack are all recalled.
  15. Nov 4, 2019
    80
    Kiwanuka stands head and shoulders above it as a complex, communicative, poetic, and sometimes even profound collection that wears its heart on its sleeve and its sophistication in its grooves.
  16. Mojo
    Oct 22, 2019
    80
    An album that's thoughtful, emotional, expertly crafted and often sublime. [Nov 2019, p.84]
  17. 80
    This isn’t as immediately powerful or riveting as Love & Hate. But the multifaceted material, along with the pioneering, organic and often offbeat production, grows on you. Listening closely with headphones heightens and intensifies the experience.
  18. Nov 8, 2019
    75
    Even for fans of his debut, the soft-spoken, acoustic Home Again, Kiwinuka's latest features some of the DNA of that record as well—albeit in light of his new-found electric, sharper side.
  19. Nov 1, 2019
    75
    Offering no blandishments, no expressions of we’ll-get-through-this, Kiwanuka is a nerve-wracked, sustained act of whistling in the dark. Absent, though, is any hint of reveling: a tendency that often leads to soul rot.
  20. Oct 24, 2019
    70
    With its carefully-crafted sequencing and seamless interludes, Kiwanuka feels like a proper old-fashioned album constructed as such, with some of its brightest highlights buried deep into the record’s latter half.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Nov 2, 2019
    9
    It's a beautiful album, and highly appropriate to the needs of these times in all respects.

    I'm giving it a 9 because it feels a bit
    It's a beautiful album, and highly appropriate to the needs of these times in all respects.

    I'm giving it a 9 because it feels a bit preachy instead of personal/emotional, but it gets the core of the emotional journey to peace of mind right. This is certainly Michael Kiwanuka's best album.

    Album of the year is between this and Ghosteen for me. I think this album is an easier listen but Ghosteen is more subtle in capturing the journey through grief and finding hope on the other side. Tough choice.
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 1, 2019
    7
    I love Michael . I was so hyped for this album after i saw the reviews . But in the end this was just an okay album . There wasn't any songI love Michael . I was so hyped for this album after i saw the reviews . But in the end this was just an okay album . There wasn't any song from this album that made me say "wow this is such a good song . But there also weren't any song which made me say "wow thid is a bad song ". In conclusion this album is just okay for me nothing else Full Review »
  3. Nov 13, 2019
    7
    KIWANUKA starts. At the first 3 songs, U2 imposture creeps in and then leaves with no impressions. The remaining begins to take over withKIWANUKA starts. At the first 3 songs, U2 imposture creeps in and then leaves with no impressions. The remaining begins to take over with soul-infused. Intros and its corresponding songs are done nicely, except the track Hero, as it's intricate but bland. At the end, it leaves no marks but acknowledgement that KIWANUKA is just an exhibition of musical skills and just that. Full Review »