Review: Kaina’s singles off of It Was A Home are good for the soul

“It Was A Home” is understated, not flashy, something you melt into that’s good for quiet wonder. It’s good for the soul.
kaina it was a home

Written By:

Brennan Robinson
Brennan Robinson

Kaina returns with three new singles, “Anybody Can be in Love,” “Come Back As A Flower” and “Casita,” from her upcoming album, It Was A Home. The songs immerse the listener in the nostalgic pre-quarantine bliss of remembering what it felt like to co-exist in shared spaces with the ones you love. Whether it be endless conversations with friends or family indoors, or listening to the quiet wisdom of plants outdoors, Kaina translates love through her soft yet sharp vocals and soulful and psychedelic arrangements, ultimately creating an intimate yet collective listening experience. 

“Anybody Can be in Love,” eases you in with simmering orchestral strings drenched in soul, setting a warm tone often reserved for romantic lovers. The drums are steady and laid-back, emphasizing the patient, “in-time” ethos of the lyrics. Kaina’s smooth and dreamy vocals detail the hesitancy to love felt amongst her and her friends before being melted away with fuzzy guitar notes reminiscent of 1960’s psychedelia. This easygoing R&B tune reminds you that love has no limits or capacity. Love is an ongoing journey and this song is the soundtrack.  

“Come Back As A Flower” is an atmospheric cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1979 song featuring blooming orchestral strings and subtle collages of nature sounds, culminating into a soft psychedelic environmental sound. The muted drum is grounding and as subtle and powerful as the roots of a tree quietly pulsating underneath us with life. Kaina’s voice breathes through you, like a portal connecting the nature she sings of to the body, making them one. Her beautifully layered vocals with heavenly harps and strings create the feeling of collective oneness. The song prompts you to reflect on your relationship with nature, especially over the last year or so. Being outside has become a refuge from the static permanency of our isolated abodes. To be in nature has given us something predictable yet dynamic to hold on to, constantly changing but continuously resilient. To come back as a flower is to continue growing until it is your time to rest and be reborn. Kaina reminds us of this sonically on “Come Back As A Flower.”.

“Casita” takes me back to pre-pandemic bliss; before home meant isolation and before we forgot what the warmth of sharing a space with friends and loved ones felt like. The song opens with a beautiful fingerpicking guitar intro courtesy of Brian Sanborn and is soon met with low, dramatic staccato strings. The sparkling glissando of chimes sets a magical tone, capturing the enchanting nature of the setting: home. Kaina’s voice is ghastly and longing, yet firmly grounded, perfectly expressing the desire for togetherness in the place you are rooted. “Casita” pays homage to how a house, a mere vessel, becomes a home. The hook, sung in Spanish, details the life contained within the walls of a house—the everyday eating, drinking, sleeping, living. The production of the song, courtesy of Kaina’s close friends Luke Titus and Sen Morimoto, tells us family is who performs these daily activities. Kaina’s mother, aunt, and close friend, Nnamdi, provide background vocals, strengthening the glow of love that encapsulated the entire song. Electric guitar notes crescendo into the climax of the song, Kaina’s solo vocals are filled with depth and intensity yet still smooth and velvety as she sings of the day when reuniting becomes reality. La Doña’s trumpet brings us back down with the lightness of a falling feather swayed by the wind of the fading background vocals. “Casita” is a warm blanket coming home, filling the “laughter in the room” and the energy of collective bonding back into us.

These tracks were a retreat back to nature for my mind. It Was A Home is understated, not flashy, something you melt into that’s good for quiet wonder. There’s a big emphasis on home, family, and the importance of close relationships with those you love. It’s good for the soul.

It Was A Home will be released March 4th, 2022.