Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Kimbra – Everybody Knows

The New Zealand singer-songwriter hangs in there…


Kat Stevens: It’s been a good two months since the 2017 World Athletics Championships, during which BBC Sport were using Jean Michel Jarre’s “Equinox V” as bed music while displaying the schedule graphic. In any right-thinking universe this would have triggered a worldwide Euro-electronica/arpeggiation revival, but in our sad excuse for a reality it seems only Kimbra got the memo. In the meantime I can console myself by rewatching the incredible Equinox V video, which is the vision of the future millennials want (JMJ inspecting skyscrapers then trying not to corpse while twiddling the knobs of a giant synthesiser in a field).

Nortey Dowuona: Limp drums, echoing, glassy synths, mild bass, removed marimba — wait! nope, just slightly better, pedestrian drums. Kimbra sings coolly in the middle of towering glass synths, and her echoes run through filters. Cool, I guess.

Alex Clifton: I’ve wanted to like Kimbra for so long, but I’ve never been able to figure out why her fanbase is so dedicated. Two and a half minutes into this song, I suddenly got it: layers upon layers of sound create a gorgeous, trippy soundscape, where Kimbra’s voice swims in and out like a dream. The problem is that it took more than halfway through the song to get there in the first place. I’m still more underwhelmed than I want to be, but I see where the magic comes from.

Will Adams: In the years since the middling The Golden Echo, Kimbra’s been dabbling in OWSLA collabs. It’s a good fit: the soul simulacra she’d been doing had begun to turn stale, and the weirdness OWSLA’s sound has been trending toward suits her voice well. “Everybody Knows” continues this new turn. It’s the traditional slow-building template, Kimbra’s voice a murmur at first, but the ensuing release is less cathartic and more agitated, static flooding the track as the heat of anger floods Kimbra’s vision. At the end, she returns to where she started, having completed the process.

Alfred Soto: I thought the New Zealander had essayed a Leonard Cohen cover, which would not have been charmless. The way in which Kimbra syncopates her melancholy to the synth rhythm gives “Everybody Knows” its mild tension.

Rebecca A. Gowns: A song about the entertainment industry, fame (or semi-fame) and all the trappings. We’ve heard it hundreds of times before, but the timing feels especially prescient. The song isn’t original in its message, nor really in its sound, but it’s got a hypnotizing allure, and Kimbra sings with a wounded-but-guarded urgency.

Katherine St Asaph: If you’re keeping track at home alongside my inner editor, this is the third Jukebox track I’ve likened to Mandalay’s “All My Sins.” Here, the likeness is clear: a glassy, polished intro barely holding back a buzzy, arpeggiated squall, where every time you think you’ve gotten the trick more layers break forth. It’s an apt metaphor for the misdeeds of the unnamed, finally shamed creep in the lyric — a lyric that reads particularly bitter this month. (Several people have independently come up with “pustules” to describe these folks: after the first burst of misdeeds, more and more crap comes out.) Could do without the cod-soul vocal affectation, but otherwise, this is the sort of alt-pop I wish got traction.

Reader average: [9] (3 votes)

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4 Responses to “Kimbra – Everybody Knows”

  1. Love the slow build up contemplation that grows to a more powerful realisation in lyrics and music. Great to hear her express the challenges in life is such a powerful way

  2. this whole album is v good

  3. It is! “Like They Do On the TV” is a jam

  4. i’m a big fan of “lightyears” and i hope it’s a single