Kimbra's first album may have been out for a year, but most of the people I talk to have only heard her singing with Gotye on his great (though overplayed) tune "Somebody That I Used To Know."
I was one of those people, until I listened to some of her debut album and realized that holy crap, Kimbra is amazing!
The video above is a live performance of "Plain Gold Ring," which is included on her album Vows. Which shows just what a strange, incredible performer she is… man, the voice on this woman. I haven't dug on an album like this since I first heard Janelle Monae's Archandroid.
Vows is one of those albums like Jellyfish's Spilt Milk, in that it seems like a true labor of love. Every tune has been produced within an inch of its life, but not in a bad way—as I recently described it to a friend, "There's so much music in her music!"
The songs have ideas on top of other ideas, and never run out of creative ways to play with the core melodies. Here are a few of my favorite tracks:
Pure pop goodness, with a side of serious Motown starting at at the bridge (2:18). Kimbra's chops and vocal versatility take this tune well beyond the realm of "fun pop song" and to a whole other level. The highs, the lows. The whole range.
They don't get much groovier than this, folks. (Even though this video takes nearly a minute to get to the music, which feels unforgivable these days.)
"Two Way Street"
One of the best pop minor-to-major transitions I've heard lately, and I utterly love the hook on "Love is a Two Way Street." Grand.
Probably the strongest, most classic-feeling melody on the whole record. That chorus is just unstoppable. I wish more pop writers used altered tensions in their melodies! Also, dig how the bass drum does that offset rhythm during the first chorus. So hot.
"Sally I Can See You"
One of my favorite tracks on this record… this is one of those tunes that has musical ideas on musical ideas on musical ideas… the verse alone is better than most entire songs.
Every other track on Vows is as good as these ones—there's not a skippable tune on the whole record. So if you haven't heard, I'm here to let ya know: Kimbra's first album is a nonstop collection of excellence. You can listen for free on Spotify or buy the album on iTunes, and she's on North American tour right now.
Okay, be right back, going to go listen to this entire album again.