I was first introduced to Kimbra through her hard-hitting, genre bending single and video for “Top of the World” – the lead single off Primal Heart. It was a captivating first impression that was perfect for my love of oddball type artists that make lanes of their own. Unfortunately, on Primal Heart, the amount of times that she’s able to hit those impressive heights where all of her different influences come together perfectly, are few and far in between. When things work they really work, but when they don’t, they really don’t. She has a unique mix of electronic, pop, and dashes of hip-hop that make her stand out as an artist, but far too often that doesn’t translate through to the music. What could have been a unique, inventive experience came off as more generic and safe than anything. There’s some flashes of something truly special throughout Primal Heart, but ultimately Kimbra is unable to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
On Caer, for every moment of true brilliance there are moments of head scratching mundanity, but regardless of these concerns, it's still an extremely smooth listen and another lesson from Twin Shadow in crafting sparkling pop hooks.
Janelle Monáe is at her most authentic self here, but while much of it is about self expression and living your truth, it's still very timely and aware of the larger things happening in our society (protest music you can party to). An album all her own sound that can only be described as 'futuristic funk' - it's sonics are lush, it's synths are bright, and it's bounce is irresistible.
Yes, Tinashe does have a nice voice and yes there are a fair amount of head nodding pop numbers, but once again it was an experience that left me feeling largely indifferent. It checks all the boxes for what a pop album should have but misses out on the soul and personality needed to make it really stand out.
Have you heard Primal Heart? What’d you think about it? Do you think it showed signs of something truly special? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.
Kimbra – Primal Heart Reaction
What could have been a unique, inventive experience came off as more generic and safe than anything. There's some flashes of something truly special throughout Primal Heart, but ultimately Kimbra is unable to create something greater than the sum of its parts.