Natalia Kills is a big fan of everything on the pop continuum of that falls on the darker side of things. She even described her debut album, 2011’s Perfectionist, as “dark pop”. She’s also a fan of chanting a series of words together in songs, like in many of the tunes on Perfectionist (“Sex, Love, Control, Vanity” on ‘Mirrors’, “Love, War, Lies, Money” on ‘If I Was God’, etc.).
This is why “Controversy”, thought of as an “introduction track” as opposed to a first single – that’ll apparently come later – works as the first thing to be heard from Kills’ sophomore album, Trouble, out reportedly some time early 2013. The song, below, actually builds on the highlights of her aesthetic that she started back when beginning her careers as Kills. Like with many art-inclined pop stars of the last couple of years, the music is now progressively matching up in terms of “avant-garde”-ness to the already unique persona or visuals of the artist.
There’s a lot to take in with the video, so here’s a breakdown of it:
- The picture of Oprah spazzing out is interesting. (1:06)
- “All the girls are friends with Molly” is a reference to MDMA.
- “Drink the Kool-Aid, don’t drink the Kool-Aid” is a great hook.
- Her head becomes the Kool-Aid guy at one point. (2:05)
- The editing and use of iconic Disney imagery actually helps the video
This kind of song won’t set any kind of dancefloor on fire within a club, but that’s obviously not what Natalia Kills is aiming for here – well, not fully. There is some dance quality to the tune. It feels like something Marilyn Manson or Peaches would think of, but the actual product feels more like something that would appear on an artsy Lady Gaga or Madonna album, which has been a valid criticism on Kills for a long time.
There’s a very present atmosphere of Kills appearing as if she wants to be so forward-thinking, innovative and edgy that, in the end, a lot of what she puts out ends up not feeling like such. Seeing her use the Disney font for the song title is a bit cringe-inducing, but where the overall aesthetic of Kills may, at times, drop down in quality, the music has always remained especially great.
“Controversy”, co-produced by Jeff Bhasker, is no exception – even more so if it’s “just” an introduction track for a hopefully amazing album to come.