Kimbra better off as collaborator
Australian sensation Gotye’s hit single “Somebody That I Use To Know” has featured artist Kimbra soaring across music charts– but her new album won’t.
Kimbra’s debut album, Vows, shows that she’s a talented artist, but the album falls short in key areas.
The album draws you in and then takes a complete left, with the second half of the tracklist falling into a flat, slow, dull pool of broken promises.
Her first solo single, “Settle Down” was a great starter track. It has an amazing, funky beatbox backdrop and Kimbra shows off her vocal circus tricks. Kimbra’s voice brings the roaring 20s to mind and resembles the voice of R&B singer Chrisette Michele. In “Settle Down,” Kimbra toys with the idea of a traditional life with her love and a baby named Nebraska Jones, a simple but relatable fantasy.
Next, Kimbra pumps it up with something you can groove to. “Cameo Lover,” a vibrant summer song, has a 70’s style and a catchy chorus– “Cause everyday’s like talking in your sleep/ Love is like a silhouette in dreams/ Open up your heart/ Open up your heart, open up your heart and let me pull you out.” The dancehall beat teases the listener by opening an expectation for more, leading Kimbra to break another vow.
Kimbra slows it down with “Two-Way Street.” This song has a captivating hook, “And there’s no conspiracy/ Behind the way two hearts meet/When love is a two way, (Love is a two way street).”
She starts “Old Flame” off in a low and deep tone, “Old flame, it’s always the old way/ When did it get so damn cold? / You’re so seasonal.” The song is very slow, but pretty, a tribute to the man she loves despite his changes.
The next track, “Good Intent,” has a bluesy, nursery-rhyme beat. Kimbra sings the hook in a loveable, lively style, “I know you didn’t mean it, though you meant so well/The pennies are cascading down your wishing well/I know you didn’t mean it when you counted to 10/ You got your reputation and your good intent.”
Kimbra’s following song, “Plain Gold Ring,” is about a taboo relationship– being in love with a married man. “And in my heart it will never be spring/Long as he wears that plain gold ring.”
“Call Me” and “Limbo” sends the album down a descending spiral of disappointment. These sluggish, drawn-out tracks make great use of the drums, but the tracks as a whole are sloppy.
The strong piano notes at the beginning of “Wandering Limbs” may wake you up with a momentary jolt, but it’s short-lived. This collaboration with Sam Lawrence is a drag, and his vocals are the only redeeming quality.
“Withdraw” continues to push the second half of the album down its boring streak.
I thought I was at a yoga session listening to “The Build Up.” Finally, Kimbra begins to sing, but the low-pitch vocals and indecipherable lyrics left the ending track helpless and unsuccessful.
Although Vows isn’t quite up to par, Kimbra seems to recycle old-school music and make it fresh and new. So, if you’re in love with all things past, this album might be right up your alley. Otherwise, continue to listen to “Somebody That I Used to Know” on repeat.