Rhapsody Radar 2012: #9 Kimbra
She entranced you as Gotye's doleful, detached, equally embittered fellow commiserator on the oddball breakup hit "Somebody That I Used to Know." But you'll be even sorrier than Gotye's ex if you let your knowledge of Kimbra end there. Seriously. The indie-poptress released her solo debut, Vows, earlier this year Stateside, and it showcases a dazzling, undeniably enchanting vision of pop that's both warmly familiar and unlike anything we've ever heard before.
Oh sure, there are slow jams and hooks, dance beats and lyrics about love, and nearly every inch is coated in a gently old-school, oddball R&B (that's more than a little indebted to Prince). But all of those pop conventions are just a little... off, in the most charming way. Salty funk like "Come Into My Head" is offset by Kimbra's feathery, fragile-fierce vocals, while "Settle Down," with its rippling harmonies, interlocking beats and mermaid choruses, sounds like retro pop from another universe (possibly whatever planet Björk hails from). But what else would you expect from this precocious young thing from New Zealand, home to sweepingly beautiful views and a host of delightful pop culture weirdos (Flight of the Conchords anyone?)? Kimbra was only 21 when Vows dropped last year in New Zealand and Australia, but she's been writing songs her whole life. The girl's got talent, and if we let her, she might just shake this whole pop game up a bit.