Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Kitty – BRB

David brings us a track from Kitty (née Pryde) and not Kittie, like I first assumed…

David Sheffieck: It’s been over two years since “Okay Cupid,” and with “BRB” Kitty is mid-transition between those bedroom-rap beginnings and an apparent future in dance pop. What hasn’t changed is what made her music so worthwhile from the beginning: her razor-sharp lyrics are as strong when describing the loneliness of life on tour as they were when talking about a crush on a boy from her class. “BRB” is a closely-observed portrait of a relationship in a difficult and new place, painted in memories and idiosyncrasies; Kitty uses specific, funny, significant details without losing sight of the universal emotions that inform long-distance love. Her delivery, flexible and playful, syncs with the hushed production, a music box lullaby with trap effects. This is dance music for your dreams.

Sonia Yang: Bedroom rap not just in the genre sense — it evokes the image of her lying in bed and hugging a pillow while brainstorming reasons to adore that ~someone~. There’s an air of easy intimacy in the stream of consciousness lyrics, and the hazy background makes everything all the more dreamlike.

Brad Shoup: She’s on her INOJ/Ghost Town DJs now — I’d say Tink, but Tink’s all over the map — but the principle of personality still applies. It’s an ideal pop single: clever without pushing it, lovestruck with an undercurrent of benign control. Also, the track is a lovers’ lullabye. It’s still an exercise, mind, but it’s not a routine.

Megan Harrington: Kitty dropped two icy and sparkling EPs this year, and “BRB” hails from the first and more transitory, Impatiens. While changing her style from Baby Bruiser rap to Snow Queen dance-pop she sings about a relationship laboring through a similar shift. Kitty’s a master of the tiny details and the production is front-loaded with computer sound effects, the sound of love through a monitor. Kitty matches these kitsch notes with a story about a woman making her name on the road, battling to keep everything together. Everything about “BRB” is sugary except the story Kitty tells.

Alfred Soto: She finds the right timbre to accompany those beautiful electric pianos, and boy, that production, as much indebted to Annie’s “Heartbeat” as Aaliyah and Tink. It’s a sauna of a record, into which I can unclench my toes for hours.

Daisy Le Merrer: Less awesomely gimmicky than in the olden days of “Okay Cupid”, Kitty now sounds like a naturalist Grimes. Her Livejournal aesthetic still lets her pull off the embarrassing moments in her raps. And the production is on a BMO gif level of beatific playfulness.

Will Adams: Recalls that Liz EP from earlier this year in that it seems engineered, via a hodgepodge of signifiers (freestyle beats, breathy Aaliyah vocals, Internet speak), to make twentysomethings swoon in a haze of nostalgia. I took the bait with Liz, but fool me twice etc.

Edward Okulicz: Call me crazy, but is her phrasing on the first verse more or less exactly like if Peaches decided to write a Sky Ferreira song? There’s a little “Time After Time” in the song’s DNA too. I’m glad for thoughtful and musically smart girls, and even more that they let us inside the thoughts in their heads like Kitty does here.

Patrick St. Michel: Earnestness and irony are usually pitted against one another, an either/or deal with very little wiggle room. Kitty has always occupied that nebulous middle ground, her songs appearing initially eye-roll-worthy (“Why you wanna fuckin’ undercut me like I’m Skrillex hair?,” a “Call Me Maybe” semi-cover, hanging out with RiFF RAFF) but hiding seemingly honest feelings among the gags (such as an ode to 285 Kent that opens with an Elizabeth Smart reference). Emotions are tricky, and Kitty seems like she’s always trying to play them off as cool. “BRB,” though, is straightforward as she gets, a sweet confessional about how distance is no worry — it just makes the time together that much more important. Pat Lukens’ production, lithe and dreamy, enhances the intimacy further and helps make this Kitty’s most immediately lovely song to date.

Katherine St Asaph: I remember interviewing Kitty circa “Okay Cupid,” when she was a Claire’s staffer and still called Kitty Pryde, and I was a girl in a stairwell with a job doing a bumbling job at an interview. It seemed like days later that the Internet, ever starved for teens and memes, rushed in with its pressure cooker of gross dudes, rap politics, unending condescension and the need to seriously consider your exact positioning in relation to Vice Media. How she survived that intact, I’ll never know; how her music survived that with charm intact, I think I might. As always, Kitty’s vocal falls somewhere between aspiring technical rapper and Boxxy; the production, somewhere in the vicinity of The Postal Service, trap and a Kirby-themed snowglobe. She calls the album “bitter and toxic and beautiful in bloom,” but I hear very little of that; what I hear is deliberate guilelessness, smart played cutesy, which you could call appeasing her gawkers or following her bliss. In 10 years perhaps the context will shrivel and we’ll hear “BRB” as the latter.

Micha Cavaseno: The fact is, by the point of reviewing this single, Kitty has already moved on to a new style far further into pop than even “BRB” seems from her “cloudy” origins. When she first emerged, I was hoping she might spell a newer development in the realms of female rap, which had remained frigid for three decades, dangerously afraid of revealing that awful softness expected of them. Tragically, she got mimicked by dollar chasers and reduced by lesser talents, and now she’s off making buoyant dance pop and having a blast. So here’s to you, Robo-Kit. It was fun while you were here, but it was never meant to be, huh?

Reader average: [8.22] (9 votes)

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7 Responses to “Kitty – BRB”

  1. so glad someone mentioned INOJ

  2. wowwww, that INOJ Time After Time cover is a revelation

  3. “the 808’s on time” oh my god

  4. Anyone knows how come the track that is labelled as Kitty – BRB on Spotify is a completely different song? Are there two artists named Kitty with the same title track?


  5. Oh I think it’s an error… Spotify actually has the track ‘Retrograde’ twice, one under the BrB name….. mmmm

    sorry about that, cool track.

  6. Yay @ you guys giving Kitty the attention she deserves when the two great EPs she released this year went completely ignored by critics. She’s so good at writing hooks and her talent is so overlooked. “Live your life when I’m gone/we can dance all night when I get home/la la la la lalalalala” is one of my favourite choruses of the year. Kitty would be writing for pop stars everywhere in a perfect world.

    Her new EP Frostbite is more consistent and features some amazing production, but I think the Impatiens EP is a bit more charming.

  7. Someone at Spotify must have noticed this too because they just removed the whole Impatiens EP. Let’s hope it comes back right.