Many artists have attempted to follow in the dildo-heeled footsteps of Lady Gaga, and thus far, all have limped embarrassingly off into obscurity (we may forgive, Sabrina Washington, but we most certainly do NOT forget).
Enter stage left, Natalia Kills, the latest young pretender to Gaga’s crown, who on paper at least, appears to have enough credentials to challenge pop’s monstrous matriarch.
Having been signed by will.i.am and placed with Gaga’s former label, Cherrytree Records, Kills has since gone on to work with a string of Gaga collaborators, including Akon, Laurieann Gibson and the dubiously monikered über-producer ‘Cherry Cherry Boom Boom‘.
At first glance there’s a lot to dislike about Natalia Kills. Bradford born and bred, she’s somehow developed a pseudo-American accent that even Joss Stone would be proud of. To compound things even further, Kills has produced a series of overbearingly noirish, art-house videos that seem horribly contrived when you realise she was once a star of your mum’s favourite radio play, The Archers.
And so we arrive at Natalia Kills’ debut release, Perfectionist, an album which is saturated with the dark, over-stylised sheen of her wearying stage persona, and yet somehow manages to be pretty enjoyable nonetheless.
Break You Hard provides one of the album’s early highlights, an aggressive mid-tempo number peppered with the sounds of breaking glass and electric guitar. Dodgy spoken interludes aside, Love Is a Suicide and Superficial offer plenty of electro-ear candy with an assortment of bleeps and distorted vocals which are oh so de rigeur these days.
Mirrors is Kills’ most blatant Gaga impersonation, combining the familiar electro-pop sound of Just Dance with the sexually aggressive lyrics of Rihanna’s S&M. It’s the sort of song you could imagine going down well at a Lambrini-fuelled Anne Summer’s party.
Things take a more interesting turn with Zombie, which mixes up tribal beats with a haunting femmebot vocal, while Free sees Kills momentarily cast aside her oblique demeanour to provide the album’s most unashamedly pop moment.
Unfortunately Perfectionist runs out of steam a little early, with later tracks, Broke, Heaven and If I was God failing to make much of an impression on these ears at least. Which is a shame really, because the rest of the album is really rather good!
So will Natalia Kills manage to topple Lady Gaga from her mermaid wheelchair? I very much doubt it. But if you can overlook her excruciatingly editorial posturing and occasional dalliances into copycat territory, you might just discover an artist capable of delivering reasonably worthwhile pop fodder.
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