Review - Karmin - Hello
It kind of pains me to write this review, but I have to.
I have thus far loved pop boyfriend/girlfriend duo Karmin (you know that because you’ve already read this, this, and especially this), and I really wanted to love this EP. Like, I wanted to say it was one of my favorite of the year. I really wanted to.
From what I’ve read so far, the critics seem to be split on the album. Half of them praise the pop/rap combo, while others have completely panned it (Rolling Stone gave it one and a half out of five possible stars). I sometimes read what other critics have said while I listen to and think about an album, so clearly their consensus wasn’t much help.
‘Hello’ is Karmin’s debut, and it sets them up as a cute, goofy couple who write pop songs, only, she raps them. This is a cute and fresh idea, but sadly it only plays out less than half the time. By now, everyone knows the lead single “Brokenhearted”, right? The song is an infectious pop number, and you can hear her rapping. The best bit of hip hop is in the dubsteppish breakdown towards the end of the song, where Amy Heidemann raps “This kind of thing doesn’t happen usually/I’m on the opposite side of it truthfully”. I’ve been waiting for a pop artist or group who can do rap, but with all pop in mind, and this song is exactly what I had in mind.
The rest of the album doesn’t quite match up, with some points coming closer than others. “Walking On The Moon” and “Too Many Fish” are fairly good, with each having its moments, but both still need workshopping. “I Told You So” is a complete mess (one of two songs they performed on Saturday Night Live), and “Coming Up Strong” has really cute harmonies between Amy and Nick, and her rap is pretty cool, but the two mesh terribly.
The idea behind Karmin I really awesome, and they have a lot going for them. They are cute, even cuter together, fresh, fun, and they don’t take anything too seriously or make anything too sexy. While the whole “I’m-a-poppy-white-girl-who-raps” was a great way to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack, Amy seriously needs to work on it. The whole thing sounds like she is trying too hard. The best rappers are those where it almost doesn’t matter what they are saying – everything flows so naturally and so perfectly. Amy is nowhere near there (and through most of the album, Nick is nowhere to be found).
Also one quick note – the band has released two singles, “Crash Your Party” and then “Brokenhearted”. I don’t know who made the decision to write and record “Crash Your Party”, shoot a video, and promote it on the radio and then NOT EVEN PUT IT ON THE ALBUM, but that was just plain fucking stupid.
Listen to: “Walking On The Moon”, “Brokenhearted”, “I Told You So” (to hear just how bad things can get), “Too Many Fish”, and “Coming Up Strong”