It’s no secret that I’m a huge Kimbra fan. The New Zealand pop star is a rarity in her genre – a true artist, and incredible talent, who draws from a wide spectrum of the history of popular music to inform her own. Last year’s The Golden Echo was not an album that played too well with critics, for a number of reasons: it’s weird, it’s not easily categorizable, and it also places emphasis on musical aspects rarely talked about in pop, like arrangements, performance, melody, and tunefulness. But it’s all there, if you listen for it.
Kimbra brought on a real all-star team to perform her tracks, including Thundercat, the Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, veteran studio drummer John JR Robinson (Michael Jackson, Daft Punk, Quincy Jones, Madonna, etc etc etc), John Legend, and many more. One of those many more was Ben Weinman from The Dillinger Escape Plan, who played on one of the album’s bonus tracks, “Sugar Lies.”
Metal songwriters could learn a trick or two from Kimbra. Her understanding of music, and of popular music structures, is pretty singular among her peer group. See the below, albeit brief, video, in which she discusses recording the Beach Boys-inspired “Sugar Lies” and collaborating with Weinman: