Two-time GRAMMY award winner and powerhouse vocalist Tori Kelly has returned after a three-year hiatus with her long-awaited EP titled tori.
The seven-track set released via Epic Records is in part, rightfully so a love letter to the Y2K era R&B which includes the previously released single “missin u” and her next official single titled “cut” – a banger and stirring track that radiates with Kelly’s compelling vocals and infectious hooks.
tori opens the project with “cut” an ode which recalls early ’00s Timbaland production a la featuring fast-paced production and lavish strings. At first listen, it will get stuck in your head with lyrics such as, “You don’t wanna cut if it’s not with me / you ain’t get this love from nobody else / I’m the only one you know who take control / I know you know.”
Among the many standout moments on the Jon Bellion-produced EP is “shelter” – a fan favorite since the singer/songwriter teased it during an Instagram live. There’s a grand moment where Kelly sings along to the guitar stylings of Mateus Asato (her long-time friend) and it will no doubt induce chills. She went into the studio and delivered with every ounce of her being.
The artist dipped into the afro-beats genre with the collaborative track “unbelievable” with Ayra Starr. Its perpetual-notion vibe gives off extra heft to the idea of the song which explores self-respect while being enchanted with someone. Kelly has gushed in multiple interviews about how she’s been digging Starr’s music recently so this was a definite dream team-up moment. Their voices intertwine perfectly.
“alive if I die”, a feel-good anthem heavily driven with piano is a nod to the roaring, breezy pop of the ’80s and ’90s. “You might be the death of me / but it might be like ecstasy / so come and take the rest of me/ put your body on mine, ah / spirit like a summer night/ underneath the purple sky / here we are on the other side/put your body on mine,” she sings.
Kelly expresses being smitten with her significant other in “alive if I die.” It’s such a pure track in which you can’t help but smile when you hear the singer-songwriter singing about how in love she is. Love is such a beautiful thing and when you find the right person, you’ll know it.
The Bellion collaboration “young gun” launches with the two singers acting as ex-lovers, revolving around each other cautiously. With the increasing tension so does the intensity of the beat, making it seem that the other has moved on from the relationship.
“missin u” got the remix treatment with an R&B-infused edit which closes the EP and blows the original version out of the water with an added bridge. It takes those born in the early ’90s back to their childhood- the pure R&B vibes are absolutely immaculate. This is what the track should have been in its initial release.
In conclusion, Kellydelivered by giving the fans what they wanted: an r&B influenced project. As a long-time fan, it’s special to see her continuously further and perfect her craft with an ever-changing sound. It’s a 10 out of 10 immersive listening experience.
Tori Kelly is THE MOMENT! The artist flaunts it confidently throughout the EP letting her personal muse shimmer even more brightly than in the past. A master at what Tori Kelly does best which of course is using her voice to uplift herself and her dedicated fanbase. Hang tight because this is only a teaser on what’s to come. It’s officially Tori Kelly season.