I was first introduced to Kimbra the same way that I assume most people were. One night, my wife turned to me and asked me if I had heard the song “Somebody that I Used to Know” by Gotye on the radio with her. I gave her a confused look and said I was pretty sure I would have remembered hearing that song, so, no, I didn’t remember having been there when she heard that song on the radio. She then played the song for me, to show me the video for it, which she found to be amusing. This was my first introduction to Kimbra, contributes vocals to that song.
You can feel how you want to about Gotye, but I have to say that if nothing else, he has at least made me aware of a true gem in Kimbra. I can’t remember the last time that I first heard someone as part of someone else’s song, but then managed to like them more than the artist I originally heard them paired with. In fact, only two cases of this come to mind right now anyway, those being the Dashboard Confessional-Rocking Horse Winner connection and whoever sings on the radio song by fun. [Ed. Note: That'd be Janelle Monae.] Granted, Dido could claim that she came to fame via Eminem, but I’ve tried to block both of those names out of my head, so let’s not think about that and get back to the cool styling of Kimbra.
Trying to pinpoint the sound of Kimbra can be quite challenging, though it’s not altogether impossible. The opening track, “Settle Down,” has these vocal noises that remind me of the theme song to the show Dead Like Me. Does anyone get that reference? No? Okay, moving on.
To put it simply, within means you will hopefully be able to grasp, Kimbra has all of the qualities that I like about Lily Allen while not having of the annoying qualities that make Allen only tolerable to me in small doses. The music of Kimbra is lively, fun, impassioned, and overall just something that I look forward to putting on.
I definitely would not call it pop. It’s something in between funk and soul, with that bass that you’re used to if you’ve ever listened to Lily Allen or Corrine Bailey Rae, for example. At times it can be rather soft-spoken and sultry, yet then another song can be completely flamboyant and just so full of life.
In the opening track, Kimbra describes how she wants to settle down (hence the song title, “Settle Down”) and have a baby she will name Nebraska Jones. On one hand, I find this to be a bit odd of a choice for a name, simply because using the name of a U.S. state makes me think of Hannah Montana, which I quickly want to forget. Then I think of it as maybe something more like Indiana Jones and I think it’s a great idea. But does this indicate that Kimbra wants to marry someone with the last name Jones? If so, who would that be? Am I just reading way too much into these lyrics?
The remaining songs have lyrics that don’t necessarily pick out baby names, but they stay down-to-earth enough so that you can eventually sing along to them, while not simplistic enough to be considered pop or amateur. For that upbeat sort of dance-along music, the lyrics are perfect.
Rarely do I fall in love so quickly with any music, but the first time I played this album, my wife and son were both present. My son, who is close to five months old, immediately responded to it, as if to say that he approved of it, which I found to be quite funny. It was something that when I put it on, I didn’t want to turn it off, and I still listen to it every chance I get. I only hope that you find it to be as highly addictive as I do.
(Feature photo by Nicki Blair.)