Kaina cast in blue light against a white background
Credit: Dennis Elliott

Kaina’s concise debut album, 2019’s Next to the Sun, confirmed her as one of Chicago’s best and most accomplished emerging musicians. Her new It Was a Home (City Slang) makes an argument that she belongs among marquee pop stars. She maintains a confident cool while juggling the distinct elements of her hybrid style, which always feels welcoming, comfortable, and just right—it never shows its seams. When she transitions from the swooning 1960s soul of “It Was a Home” to the ostentatious kitchen-sink bedroom pop of “Good Feeling,” she brings with her the rhythmic smoothness and ebullient harmonies of postwar Black pop. Even the elegance with which Kaina carries herself comes across as informal and friendly, inviting us to linger and absorb every precisely executed detail. It Was a Home feels as sculpted and labored-over as any big-tent pop album, and Kaina’s down-to-earth personality elevates these songs to realms she’s only dreamed about.

Kaina, Silas Short, Semiratruth, Sat 3/5, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, $20, $16 in advance, 12+