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"Home Again" by Michael Kiwanuka #26 on American Songwriter "Albums of the Year"

There's been close to universal consensus this year about the general likability of Michael Kiwanuka's debut album. It nails the retro thing, after all, which counts for plenty these days. But if we're going to appraise his aesthetic choices-which are part and parcel of his artistry-it's also worth noting what stands out about them: while a good many retro soul revivalists are white, female belters, Kiwanuka's a British guy of Ugandan descent who conjures soft-focus, singer-songwriter soul, and it's that Bill Withers-ish soul element that sets his music apart from the also-mainly-white folk-rock revivalists. It's a savvy choice of niche, really. And beneath the thoroughgoing '70s earth-tone orchestration on Home Again-swanky horns, strings and all-you find that Kiwanuka has a light touch. There's both tenderness and dignity to his singing, and it's been a good, long while since anyone sounded so natural deploying such earnest, throwback language of brotherhood and spiritual neediness.

-AmericanSongwriter.com

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