THE TOP 31 LP’S OF ’11 > #17. NATALIA KILLS – PERFECTIONIST
#17. NATALIA KILLS – PERFECTIONIST
Natalia Kills has suffered from an implausible amount of backlash in the lead up to this, her – for the most part – accomplished debut album Perfectionist. Beyond the sometimes pretentious (but perhaps not as much as – for example – Lady Gaga has been over the last 10 months) veneer, the constant Gaga comparisons which, as the year has progressed seem more ridiculous, and the inability to release a single that resounds with the record buying public, is an almost flawless pop album with clever production, big pop-hooks and all of the magnetism and spunk that Pop’s spectators have been trying to wrangle out of Natalia since she re-entered the Popworld.
The debut gets off to a rocky start with the transparent introduction “Perfection”, a 32 second nothing that not only could have been left off the album but proves Kills is far from being a perfectionist, for if she were this off-putting introduction to an otherwise stellar album would not even be included. Mind you, that’s about as far as Perfectionist gets to being anything but, which isn’t bad considering it’s not even a minute long and there’s another 14 substantial tracks worth sinking your teeth into. The projects second single “Wonderland” is one of the pop songs of the year, with an intricately twisted bassline that buzzes through as Perfectionist’s strongest point, boasting lyrics of a nightmarish self-forbidden love; “I want the love, the money and the perfect ending / You want the same as I, I, So stop pretending / I wanna show you how, good we could be together / I wanna love you through the night, we’ll be a sweet disaster.” It’s this particular lyric that is perhaps the finest thing Kills has written; it’s an incredibly well executed line that does that feeling of being in love with someone you know is ultimately wrong for you an incredible amount of justice.
Infectious anthem for the destitute, the gorgeous “Free”, is another massive pop moment for 2011 that was cruelly overlooked by peoples wallets, and whilst the last-minute inclusion of will.i.am onto the updated version of the track may have seemed like a necessary evil at the time, it was an additional move that perhaps was not needed as “Free” barely nudged the US or UK singles chart. It did however serve as a Top 10 in a couple of European countries, so the power of Kills’ pop hasn’t gone completely unnoticed.
The truly dark thunder-pop of the paralysing “Zombie” sits with the brilliant “Kill My Boyfriend” as Perfectionist’s most sinister but enjoyably experimental peaks, and regardless of how Fame-era Gaga they sound like, the confronting “Love Is A Suicide” and first single “Mirrors” still stand as a great songs well over a year after their initial release. “Wonderland” excluded, Perfectionist‘s greatest hits lie with a frenetic club-romper – the certifiably mental “Nothing Lasts Forever” – and two pulsating, driving tear-jerkers called “Broke” and the moody “Not In Love”, the former with the all-telling-line “You left me stranded / caught you red handed / You tore my heart out / and left me here for dead /If I’m giving, I’m giving up / I’m empty handed, you took enough,” which prove Kills is better at writing straight-forward pop ballads than the plonkity-plonk of Gaga’s last two attempts. “Broke” is better than any ballad released in 2011 and is perhaps the moment on Perfectionist that would catapult Kills to the level of fame and notoriety she deserves. Big key-change with a huge finish – she should be very proud of this particular song as it’s a bonafide pop classic.
Perfectionist is a top-shelf pop album with very little flaws. For one, it proves she is an incredibly well-equipped songwriter, but more importantly it demonstrates there’s a lot more to Natalia Kills than just being an alleged Lady Gaga clone.