With the release of her second album, The Golden Echo (out today, ), we can all come to terms with the fact that no one is Kimbra. (Except for her, of course.) The singer melds every genre you’ve ever loved from childhood onward, providing a cohesive party that places the New Zealand siren at center stage.
As a pop nerd, you’d have to be hard of hearing not to catch the heavy Prince influence on the work. It’s omnipresent from the opener, “Teen Heat,” and woven intricately throughout the project. The single “’90′s Music” takes funky blips and rolls them through every dimension of Kimbra’s voice, and that’s the most valuable lesson we can take from The Golden Echo: While her 2011 debut Vows showed us that she could sing, her follow-up teaches us that she can saaang. And not only that, she can craft a well-rounded pop track around all that saaang-ing.
Cuts like “Carolina,” “Goldmine,” “As You Are,” and “Nobody But You” all sound fundamentally different, ranging from upbeat fun cuts to solid midtempo ballads. However, while many artists try to adopt this “something for everybody” approach and over-diversify, it’s advantageous for Kimbra. Perhaps it’s her heavy hand in production, or working with her childhood muse, Silverchair’s Daniel Johns, but something just works this time. Coming off a three-year-old hit (that someone else crafted), Kimbra had to come correct this time, and did she ever.
In a world where there’s an almost ironic ambiguity in pop music, Kimbra’s The Golden Echo is setting a new standard of doing whatever feels right. Keep those feels going, Kimbra.
Best Song That Wasn’t the Single: “Teen Heat,” channeling every inch of those days when you were so young and so in love. Now you’re not. Go figure.
Best Listened To: Immediately following a movie night of Prince’s Purple Rain. And right before that too.
Idolator Score: 4/5
— Kathy Iandoli
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