Even if you don’t know her name, you have probably heard Kimbra supporting Gotye on his breakout single “Somebody That I Used To Know” sometime this year. She helped catapult Gotye to the top of the Billboard Charts, as the single is taking over airwaves and everyone’s heads all year. But alas, this is the only song that Kimbra really has over here. In fact, her debut album Vows, which has already been in New Zealand and Australia last summer, is finally coming over to the United States almost a year later. And it’s up to you if you want to jump on the alternative pop wave or not.
The album starts off with the first single, “Settle Down.” Full of mouth percussion, one catchy hook, and a weird music video, “Settle Down” is poised to be her breakout song here in the U.S. “Come Into My Head” has a sexy little beat to it, making one of the most dance ready tracks on the album (the verses are straight up awesome). My personal favorite is “Good Intent,” a jazz-influenced romp with lyrics that hint of infidelity and greed, and karma coming back in full swing.
The most impressive moments on Vows has to be the slower songs. The slow burning “Old Flame” is a make-up song that is just as dark as it is incredibly sultry. “Plain Gold Ring” has a broken down depressing feel, accompanied by lyrics of loving someone who will never love you back. “Home” is an oddball pop song, but has some rather light moments sparkled throughout. “The Build Up” is a gorgeous ballad that swoops you with Kimbra’s artistically beautiful lyrics that gorgeously accompanies the song.
The biggest theme of this album just so happens to be love, but instead of focusing on one small aspect, Kimbra tries and tackles everything. From wanting to get married, to infidelity, to being supportive of your hopeful significant other, to not being able to get what you want, Kimbra covers all of the bases. There are moments for just about everyone here, regardless of your current situation.
The make-it-or-really-break-it thing about Kimbra is her singing, more specifically her inflection. Her vocals, while incredibly different and out there compared to others in her genre, is probably the biggest turn off for new and minds-closed listeners. Her inflection reminds me of a cartoon character at times, while others give me an image of a little kid jumping on a bed on a complete sugar high. Songs like “Cameo Lover” and “Sally I Can See You” bring out both sides of her voice, and on both songs I felt almost annoyed. However, Kimbra more than redeems herself on multiple occasions. If you felt like I did, don’t give up; there are plenty of moments on Vows that will grab and shake you until it looks like you’re dancing.
We don’t know how successful Kimbra will be months from now. Her music could be a slow burn to the top like Gotye, or could just shoot up it like any other pop artist right now. Regardless, Kimbra will hit it big with Vows. Whether it be because of her infectious beats, the poetic lyrics, or the album as a platonic whole, she is destined to be considered for a lot of best of charts by the end of the year. If you agree or not is up to you, just don’t let us say we told you so when she finally explodes.
Final Grade: B+
Go Download: “Settle Down,” “Good Intent”