This week, Natalia Kills released her new album. I think. Maybe not in this country, maybe in this country. I’m not really sure, her label’s quite messy. BUT. It’s out somewhere and I’ve heard it. Whilst my musical qualifications ends at being able to play ‘Everytime’ by Britney on the piano, here’s my opinion on her new record, Trouble.
It opens with an intro, as did her debut Perfectionist, which I think sets the mood perfectly. There are wailing sirens and a small speech about the purity of someone’s actions and love, with some background screams and noises. A static shock and the first track, ‘Television’, properly kicks in. The slow intro followed immediately by the up-tempo opening song reflects most of the album, as it’s a collage of loud, hard tracks and quiet, vulnerable songs.
My favourite thing about Kills is that her music is generally quite smart, which apparently is viewed as a negative as it alienates audiences by not being generic or relatable, and that’s why she hasn’t blown up (yet). So, basically, she’s not popular because the general music audience are too stupid to enjoy anything that’s not about fucking in a club. BUT I DIGRESS. The songs ‘Television’ and ‘Controversy’ reflect this best, I think, by demonstrating how the youth of the television/internet age has warped views on reality and follow a robotic, unemotional lifestyle, copying what they see on television, and are immune to the controversy surrounding them. Her voice in both songs shows her aggressive, badass side (‘Controversy’) and a dramatic emotion that’s generally unusual for mainstream pop (‘Television’).
My other favourites of note are ‘Stop Me’, ‘Rabbit Hole’, ‘Saturday Night’, ‘Watching You’ and ‘Trouble’. ‘Stop Me’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ are my 2013 sleazy jams of the year and I’m expecting to be howling and Miley twerking to them as soon as I’ve got a drink in my hand. The drums in both songs (and lead single, ‘Problem’) are the best in the album and just harder than most pop, which makes them just…better.
‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Watching You’ are two of the slower songs on the album where Kills’ writing and vocals are at the forefront, adding a brilliant new shade to the album. They’re raw, open and honest mini stories within themselves that add perfectly to the overall trajectory of the album. There’s a defiance, emotion and drama in both that raises Kills above your standard popstar.
The closing, and title, track ‘Trouble’ ends the album on a loud note that she is, indeed, trouble. Casually dropping lines such as “I’m gonna burn down the house tonight” while pleading for a friend and alibi, it’s the perfect ending to represent the album’s entire theme of badass, rawness, honesty and still being fucking awesome.
Personally, I feel the only let-downs in the album are ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘Daddy’s Girl’ and ‘Outta Time’. Next to the harshness of ‘Problem’ and the emotion of ‘Saturday Night’, they just seem bland in contrast, though they’re perfectly good songs and not too far from the standard pop music of today. It’s just that I prefer Kills’ music when it’s different from the usual fair of pop music, so to hear her make middle-of-the-road music is a bit throwaway for me.
Again, the cleverness of the album is that it writes an overall story of Natalia’s life, from being rich and classless, to a family breakdown, to running away and becoming poor and classless with a bad lover. Commentary runs throughout on the state of youth today. Each song stands as a mini story or statement in itself that adds to the arching story, and it all fits brilliantly. My favourite album of the year (so far).
Anyway, now I’m off to take my shirt, shoes, jeans all off (and we ain’t even at the beach).