Everything about British pop singer Natalia Kills is bold: from her eyebrows and style to her lyrics, she’s not one to fade into the background. Designer Jeremy Scott is a huge fan of the regular front-row fixture. A darling in the fashion industry, Kills is also trying to solidify her place in the pop world. Her particular brand of pop is dark, twisted and lots of fun. It fits in with the new wave of sad girl musicians like Charli XCX and Sky Ferreira.
The young woman, formerly known as Natalia Cappuccini, has come a long way to her status as style icon and formidable pop singer. She was raised by her Jamaican father and Uruguayan mother in a small town in Northern England and had a cushy upbringing until her father was arrested when her life went from riches to rags.
Kills had always been involved in the entertainment industry, whether as a child actor or singer. After leaving home at age 15, Kills would have experiences that she would later incorporate into her music, first with her debut album Perfectionist (2011) and now with her sophomore album, Trouble, which was released last month. Signed under Cherrytree/Interscope Records (known for their roster of pop stars like Robyn, Ellie Goulding and La Roux), Kills adopted her stage name and began to make her way into pop music, finally able to pursue her music career after finding only rejection before. Although Perfectionist found success in Europe, it failed to make waves in the U.K. and U.S. However, it gave her the chance to tour with Kelis, Robyn, Ke$ha, Katy Perry and the Black Eyed Peas.
Trouble features collaborations with veteran producers Jeff Bhasker and Emile Haynie. Kills described it “like a collage of all of the worst memories and worst mistakes I’ve ever made” in an interview with Billboard. She explores her manic teenage years on “Saturday Night” and declares herself ‘unsaveable’ on “Outta Time.” The majority of the instrumentals includes heavily distorted guitar lines and pounding percussion. Kills’ vocals are poisonously sweet, which somehow balance her darker lyrics.
The first single off the album, “Problem,” is rife with heavy guitars, pounding drums and a resonating bass that perfectly match Kills’ bad-girl attitude. It’s a song that’s representative of Kills as an artist with lyrics of grand debauchery and distorted instrumentals that make it impossible not to dance a bit naughtier.
“Daddy’s Girl” is lighter in instrumentals and features snippets from “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates. It’s a showcase of Kills’ writing skills and her penchant for storytelling.
Lastly, “Rabbit Hole” is highly recommended for its deliciously dirty lyrics and fun beat. As Kills sings “Cause I eat boys like a cannibal / fuck hard, howl at the moon like an animal /Eat me, drink me, straight down the rabbit hole” as a lead up to the hook, there’s a fun drum beat and bass-line that will have you standing up and getting down.
By Teta Alim