Kimbra has a special presentation, using her creativity passionately in order to demonstrate her talents. The Aussie singer’s sophomore album, The Golden Echo, definitely utilizes those traits. However, the album includes confusion, with musical similarities between most songs and a problem with its identity.
The kickoff track, “Teen Heart”, has a promising beginning. The electronic beat keeps pace while Kimbra’s soft “oohs” are presented. This particular song starts off slow and Kimbra’s vocals follow the pace with words like, “I’m down, I’m out/have my feet on the ground/but I’m starting to see things different.” The chorus has a slight climatic area, but falls short with an overwhelming electric drum mixed with echos and an absence of any other instrument. That absence makes the song a void.
The next track, “90s Music”, is another one that seems purposeful but doesn’t leave an impression. The auto-drums help build the hype while Kimbra’s high vocal range gives the song sass. The chorus is light and poppy but doesn’t last long, leading the song back to dullness. The composition of auto beat becomes uninteresting. The lyrics, “I’ve been driving round in my car/rolled down the window beside ya/blaring out loud of the broken speaker/everyday be listening to 90s music,” are also unflattering. They needed to enhance the song but instead they contribute to the shallowness.
There are some positive examples of Kimbra’s style, however. “Carolina” starts off with children’s laughter and music that sounds like a laser show. When the melody eventually kicks in, it’s upbeat and involved, there are multiple instruments and it’s pleasant. Kimbra sings, “but in my heart I know, it’s time to come back/cause you’re home I never find off the beaten track,” while the chorus picks up and entertains. It has mystic musical qualities.
There’s also “As You Are” and “Waltz Me to the Grave” that show Kimbra’s versatility. “As You Are” starts with a pure piano that plays for a while before accompanying vocals are introduced. The lyrics “I won’t give it back again/I won’t give it back to you/I won’t give that part again/I won’t love another you,” follow an emotional trend. The combination of straight piano and Kimbra’s pain is incredible. “Waltz Me to the Grave” also features a piano, but with some drama. The song opens to a sensational confession with a melody that encompasses funk and soul. The lyrical content is sexy, saying things like “waltz me to the grave/savour every moment we’ve made/dance me down to the ground that I came from.” The song does pick up and features a strong collision of instruments. That break, however, pans out into another slow melody. This song oozes sexiness.
But I find myself dissatisfied as I switch between songs. I can’t pinpoint a particular area that I enjoy enough to continue. The last three songs mentioned add to the positive vibes of the album, but overall I was stuck on the songs that didn’t. Kimbra’s energy and creative talents are fascinating, but The Golden Echo isn’t the right example of those traits. Third time’s a charm?