Everett True

Kimbra. No. No, don’t Kimbra. Please don’t.

Kimbra. No. No, don’t Kimbra. Please don’t.
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Got to love pop artists who love Nina Simone. Without exception they miss EVERYTHING that made sweet fierce Nina so great. I suppose that’s what happens when you only hear music when you’re buying skinny lattes in a Melbourne Starbucks. Just because you’re good at warbling your scales in the bathroom doesn’t mean your music has substance.

Kimbra. She’s like Lykke Li, only really fucking perky.

This is what she thinks music should sound like. Nice to hear she’s lifted Nina’s backing in its entirety and just slapped her perky voice over it: kind of like she knows triple j listeners could never like music that could connect on any sort of level except novelty.

And this is what it COULD sound like.

See also Icehouse … I mean, Goyte.

14 Responses to Kimbra. No. No, don’t Kimbra. Please don’t.

  1. Darragh September 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Hee Hee Everett. I really like Kimbra’s version.

  2. Donnie September 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Seriously, what the fuck is up with those hand actions, it’s the worst, I cringed the whole way through, also, without a too-well-trained ear, you can hear that much of her scale-warbling is simply the result of studio-engineer-dark-artistry… Nina Simone, on the other hand…

  3. Donnie September 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    …to elaborate, i’m guessing it’s the chap in the background with keyboard and the funny boxes that’s helping her out, also, i’m skeptical about how “live” this performance is…just saying

  4. Victoria Birch September 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    It’s like mum has been walking the streets for 15 hours to get business from enough punters so she can make rent and feed her little girl. She gets home in 5” heels that have made her feet bleed, then wee Kimbra totters around in the same shoes saying “mum, mum look at me. I’m just like you. Soooo pretty.”

    It’s not an abomination but the oh so intense hand gestures and expressions are really grating.

  5. Victoria Birch September 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    …that said I don’t have a problem with it per se. It’s an old argument, but if Kimbra is nothing more than a conduit for a few new listeners to Nina Simone then she can gesticulate away to her heart’s content. There are plenty of people I discovered through some ropey covers – Paul Young’s take on Love Will Tear Us Apart and Double Trouble and the Rebel MC’s appropriation of Toots and the Maytals spring to mind (god love my teenage self).

  6. Shan Welham September 10, 2011 at 11:02 am

    As soon as I saw the two microphones, I doubted I would be impressed. I made it to 1.33 then had to make it stop. The female songstress scale warbling thing is like fingernails on a blackboard to my ears.

    The Nina Simone original is understated, raw and conveys the emotion and sentiment in the song so clearly. You’ve prompted me into a Nina, Julie London and Astrud Gilberto soundtrack to my mid-morning study session, Everett. So thank you for that.

  7. Alex September 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I just got home from Parklife festival in Melbourne and was googling Kimbra for more info after being impressed by her set today, and came across this article. She’s great live, and I have to say that I disagree with your thoughts on her cover of Plain Gold Ring.

    Yeah, it’s pretty much note for note in terms of the bands contribution, but I like the personal touches Kimbra adds with her vocal layering and I don’t think her melisma (“warbling”) is in the same league as Mariah Carey over-the-top vocal wank.

    In response to Donnie’s comments, I can tell you after seeing Kimbra and band today that she does possess the vocal talent to sing those parts live and the vocal layering that you may be confused about are her harmonies being looped through the second microphone (although you may be right about the keyboard player controlling the loops).

  8. Chris February 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Man, what a douchey uptight reaction to a well meaning cover. What Kimbra does here isn’t my bag either but meh, she’s 21 and just singing a song she genuinely likes (which is far more tasteful than most people her age). Way to be a sour hater.

  9. Daniel February 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I completely agree with Chris. This girl can really sing and she does this song justice. And I am sure it is live. Keep it up Kimbra, hand gestures and all, go for it.

  10. Nate February 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I liked the cover better than the original.

  11. Joshua February 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with Chris. A very well-meant, well-performed cover. I really enjoyed the vocal layering she did.
    It kinda adds a dimension to the original. Where the original was gloomy and depressing, this one sounds more elaborate. No disrespect to Nina of course. She sounds like an angel.
    Kimbra doesn’t, but then again, she isn’t claiming to be Nina reborn. She is Kimbra performing a song. And she does it well.

    BTW, I’ve just started browsing your site and it seems to me that each and every review I’ve come across is filled with some sort of anger/disrespect/discontent/… towards the artist. Praise needn’t be sung for everyone, but a pat on the back instead of a putdown goes a long way.

  12. Everett True February 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    If you’re serious about that Joshua, wanting “pats on the back” (P.S. that’s NOT the critic’s role), then you should be looking here anyway. Song Of The Day, around 450 recommendations. Enough for you?

  13. nia March 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Love it! She rocks.

  14. Joshua March 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I’m sorry, I misspoke. Not a “pat on the back” as in “oh just keep doing what you’re doing, we’ll be lying to you that it’s good even if it’s awful”, more as in “this is awful, but shows potential”. Still criticism, just a tiny bit more polite.
    And I take my comment back – I found a review on Cloud Nothings and enjoyed the review and enjoyed the record even if I don’t usually go for such screaming vocals and sort-of melodic punk-garage-pop melodies. They’re weird. In a good way. Guess it was just my luck to stumble on so many negative reviews.

    I still disagree with you on this one, though. And she does it better here than on the record. I did however see another one of her live performances on ytube of this song and it was very uninspired and dull.

    So there it is, my pat on the back: Sometimes she’s dull and sometimes she gets it right. But the fact that she can get it right shows potential.

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