Kimbra’s explosion of Soulful Pop

By Thabile Vilakazi

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Many might give you a “huh”” when replying to the name of Kimbra, but some may recognise that name from the well-known song that has invaded our music stations, Gotye‘s “Somebody that I used to know” in which Kimbra was a featured artist. Her sultry, thick, syrupy voice is one that cannot be simply forgotten. After the successful release of her debut album “Vows”, This New Zealand born songstress has the ability to have listeners clicking their fingers and shimmying like 1920s flappers to her tunes.

Kimbra’s music can be best categorised as a mixture of Indie pop, Alternative rock and soul accompanied by influences of Jazz. Her album opens up with “Settle Down” an upbeat song which begins with seconds of a cappella and soul clapping which leisurely leads to the joining in of instruments like the piano, bass and the tambourine, an instrument she uses in most of her songs.  This is the perfect introduction to the album as she makes a reference to the name, exclaiming “Let’s make our vows”. In “Settle Down” she is declaring her love for someone she would like to settle down with, have a family and treat her partner exceptionally well.

The second single “Cameo lover” is another whimsical, fun-filled song also referring to her love interest and the opening up of his heart to her. The album caters for many emotions, and goes in diverse directions, from the declaration of love to the cheating husband with a certain prostitute as revealed in “Good intent”. Her wit and sparkling sense of delivery in her songs makes for an enjoyable album to listen to when in a pleasant mood, the kind of album you crank up loudly in your car, on a sunny day on the way to a friend’s house, a luncheon or even on the way to a blind date. The songs in the album are perfectly constructed; they do not go a specific direction but present various scenarios, making it both unpredictable and excitingly surprising.

Kimbra’s interest in old school hip hop and Jazz is revealed in “Plain Gold Ring”, her own remake of legendary singer Nina Simone‘s song with the same title. Her vocals and instruments in “Call Me” a song produced by Australian Hip Hop producer M-Phasez, who has produced songs for hip hop mogul Talib Kweli are fresh leading to the sensation of swinging your hips.

The album “Vows” is Kimbra’s take on love and happiness which is refreshing, as opposed to the albums of heartbreak and melancholy we are often exposed to by artists like Adele and Katy Perry. It is a lovely child-like and lighted-hearted way of viewing life in general. Rolling Stone Magazine was indeed correct by naming this album “One to watch”. Kimbra’s talent is underrated but with the growing of listenership, one can only hope that she gets the recognition that she deserves worldwide 

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