So the other day we said on Twitter that Natalia Kills is shit.
This might seem a bit odd considering we have called her things like 'pop's next superstar', covered her quite a lot and generally given her the thumbs up. And let's not lose sight of what we liked in the first place — some great pop songs. You can listen to clips of her debut album over at Amazon.de. There are some brilliant tunes there. 'Break You Hard', 'Mirrors', 'Free', loads of great stuff.
So why the sudden change of heart? Well it's not really
sudden. This time last year we voiced concerns that people might be "scared
off by the posturing". "Don't be put off by some of the slightly
self conscious artsy stuff,
she's amazing," we added in November.
It all started off quite well, we suppose. We loved this picture of her.
Amazing, right? Sort of styish and noiry and intriguing. Particularly a year ago, before the whole post-Gaga thing had really got boring. But we were
already finding that we had to ignore a side of Natalia which seemed immediately unconvincing. Things like her self-directed web TV show 'Love, Kills xx' (one episode
here) were self indulgent claptrap.
Let's preface what we are about to say by noting that those who view pop as a sort of bloodsport take a snide joy in denying artists the chance to be one thing if they have previously been another. People already snigger about Natalia's previous incarnation as UK rapper Verbalicious, or her roles in The Archers and a Jasper Carrott sitcom. That seems a bit unfair to us — we are all different things when we are 15 and when we are 18, or 21, or 25 or whatever. People move on and find out who they are as artists and should be allowed to do that.
But this latest incarnation as Natalia Kills is one that Natalia Cappuccini just can't pull off. It's too big for her.
While you watch this interview, bear in mind that Natalia Kills is FROM LEEDS.[youtube]Jdogh4PKd1M[/youtube] Firstly, someone on her PR team needs to tell her not to swing on her chair
when she's doing interviews. Secondly, can you see the panic in her eyes? Even she doesn't believe what she's talking about. It's funny because we agree with a couple of the points she makes, but one of the comments on the YouTube video sums it up perfectly: "She is what would happen if Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus had a baby". Gaga's sense of theatre, Miley's inability to grasp what the fuck is going on.
All that early stuff, the videos and press shots, really made you feel like you wanted to know more about this artist. But the problem comes when you do know more. The similarities to Lady Gaga are obvious and Natalia is either a moron for thinking they're not, or thinks we're morons if we'll believe they're not. There are differences though. The music's not as good, obviously. But it also feels like when you push and poke and interrogate Lady Gaga she makes more and more sense, not less and less. True, sometimes Lady Gaga seems to lose sight of what she's doing or why she's doing it, but you can believe that she at least knew at some point, and if it makes no sense to us it at least probably makes sense to her. It does not seem that the same can be said for Natalia Kills. Lady Gaga does, at least, stand up to a certain degree of scrutiny. Shine a light on Natalia Kills and the whole thing's so transparent it barely casts a shadow.
Basically, loads of the Natalia Kills album sounds great. We will happily buy it when it comes out and listen to it and enjoy the good bits and make a playlist of the best tracks and all those other things you do with albums. But some of it, like the extruciating opening track (listen here) in which a therapist lists Kills' supposed character flaws — "the subject seems obsessively concerned with power… having control", "neurotic impulses", "possible fantasist" — are just awful. Indeed, that opening track really sums up the hamfisted feel of the whole thing. Because if Natalia was really obsessed with control, she wouldn't have allowed that track on the album. So it is, in the very purest sense, a load of old nonsense.
Anyway we wanted to write this because the "Natalia Kills is shit" tweet seemed a bit offhand and glib and we wanted to be clear on why, for the time being, it'll be hard to support her as an artist even if her songs are as sharp and exciting as they always were. There's talent at the heart of all this, but the character just doesn't work for us.