« Song Exploder

Re-issue: Kimbra - Top of the World

2023-02-22 | 🔗

Last month, in January 2023, Kimbra put out her fourth album. I was listening to it, and it made me want to go back and revisit her Song Exploder episode from 2018. Here it is:

Kimbra is an artist from New Zealand. Her first album came out in 2011, and in 2013 she won two Grammys for her collaboration with Gotye, the multiplatinum hit song,” Somebody That I Used to Know.” In this episode, Kimbra breaks down her song from 2018, “Top of the World,” a song she also made in collaboration - this time with artists Skrillex and Diplo.

For more, visit songexploder.net/kimbra.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Dear listening to song, explorer where musicians take up their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. I'm ratification your way so The exploiters sponsored by article they make beautiful star the furniture and because there are online. Only the prices are really good too. I've been in the process of turning my garage into a studio where I can make music and where I can record song exploiter interviews and for this new space I ordered up. And you furniture off their website, and I can't wait for it to arrive at a beautiful miss. Century style, couch that'll be at the centre of the room. There's something really exciting about raising the article site. You look at the furnace and you start to imagine the possibilities and if you can't decide which going too at reddened moment? You can save your favorites relator, so in a couple we, I've mortar report from my new studio. In the meantime, join me in getting something to spring up your place article. offering song exploded listeners fifty dollars off your first purchase of a hundred dollars and more to claim the steel visit. Article
a calm, slash song, exploded and the disco will automatically be applied at check out. That's article dot com, slash song, exploded for fifty dollars off your first purchase of a hundred dollars or more. Last month, in january, twenty twenty three camera put out her fourth album allison to it, and it made me- want to go back and revisit her song exploiter episode from twenty eighteen, it's one of my favorites back then tell me about the making of a song from her third home. So if you this episode. The first time around, I hope, you'll enjoy it, and if you heard before hope you enjoy listening to it again as much as I did, is an artist from new zealand Mr Adam, came out into that some eleven and twelve. thirteen. She won t grammy's for her collaboration with gautier. The multiply hit song somebody that I used to know in this episode, breaks down a song of hers from twenty eighteen called top of the world collaborate is a big part of the song is well coming up. Kimber trade,
is how musical experiments she made with scripts and diplow ended up getting transformed into parts of this on. My name is Kimber, start of the song happened at scarlet studio. We may backs it's a coachella and then we talked about hanging out cause. We were both living in the same part of town in l, a he invited me over to his studio and we're just like listening to beats together. I was playing them some of my demos. He was playing the things he had and pulls up a speed bump. This almost seance, like trance, beat I'm like yo. This is a really sick and I started just moving along to it and I guess I just started singing along one one, one, one one one one one just kind of made this noise of my mouth like a kind of low. I guess almost
to redo or something you know quite textual and he's dead. police recorded on the burial skrillex working with him, as he so fast, and he just presses record and I'm singing it into the mic at the computer. We start layering. At that point, I wasn't really thinking about what the song would be about, or even if it would be. For me, I mean a lot of the time when you're riding with specially with DJ's it unaware that stuff's going to end up, so it didn't give so far in terms of arrangement that day we decide. the kind of sit on it for a bit. He had
it's computers, so he pulled it up with a bunch of people who are coming through his studio. I remember him texting me, be like yo anderson pack really digs like he's going to put someone down and and with vic mensa and he's going to try something- and I was like. Oh that's dumb. Like does I love that idea of making something and then just letting it kind of go out into the universe and see where it flies, but I think it was always assumed that if a rapper ended up taking the track that I would be involved, you know I love to work with artists and collaborate. So considering I can already had this presence on the song. With this ominous backing vocal, I assumed that I would write some hooks and maybe someone would take the verses, but nothing. It We developed with any of the other wrappers, and so I started to kind of experiment with it myself in own, might of I'm studio and trying different approaches and How did you feel like? Maybe this was a moment that I could try to go all the way on and Scruggs he was like gemmen, you should go for it,
because I knew there were a lot of rappers trying ideas on this song. It sparked that idea in me to kind of try my hand at like a more rhythmic way of singing. You know I've done a lot of cathartic full voice singing on my records, but with a beat that is so hypnotic and so sort of monotone, or it didn't really feel like the right song to get highly melodic instead of flourishing and kind of doing lots of trills. That felt like it needed a very urgent, almost protest like approach and the vocal. I wanted to find a way to meet that energy of where the track was going. So I approached him more like a spoken word, you know, but there was no real lyrics at that point, so I did gibberish vocals over it kind of mapping out certain pockets. They sat up with a gap. Congleton is a producer from Texas he came on.
Lord, when the song was just drums and a drawn and me he kind doing jeopardy shhh over the track I consider him to be the person. The kind of help me pull the puzzle pieces together into something cohesive and he was the first person drop on the song like add the eight away and a snare which totally changed the feeling cause. Now, all of a sudden, you could live really bumped to the song in the groove. I was heavy. You know blasting it in the studio we were like. This is hot I had a habit on this album of taking by cried through new york city and learned about myself on this album I needed it's danger, I think, to tap into my spontaneous lyrical brain. I'd be sitting. My studio and men had an initiative mulling over lurks sitting that listening to the track, china decipher my own gibberish. What is the song about
I just couldn't ignores hitting walls they frighten sooner, but I gotta Why can you know I want my mother would be terrified to know not wearing a home in on not just going through new york city with my phone and my hand right with the beat playing and kind of here so to hang in there trying to love, but I still but to sing to myself. Rice are to get the groove in my body as I ride through manhattan and he's crazy man. So many lyrics came that way. It was something about putting myself in that place of mild anxiety. You know the traffic of manhattan like there was a it's been really immersed in the city, and I mean it's the city of ambition, so that innocent place of striving started to come out of the song. You know this, this kid who dreams of getting out into the world and little bite The song started the peace itself together. This kind of essential to the top, the top of the world, or this kind of striving for power and like a film right in Egypt, beginning middle an end, so I wanted each
earth to represent a different stage of the journey, a start an innocent ambition and then little bit his sinister influence, dusted edge into the song, something in the feels a little darker, as someone becomes more and more the sorted with this feeling of power, this lust for success. I wanted be a character that was Nelson drunkenly delusional on this. section viii me, enteric, see me or billboards and banners see me. Why pick advances now? I really wanted to actually take home the feeling of what it might be like to become kind of drunk on your own sense of self importance and kind of falling into space of blindness. You know where you lead people to believe one thing and im, not sure if you believe anymore and there's a moment in the song where the vulnerability kind of comes through, and it asks you know. It's crazy undefined brand new. It's amazing, I got high on a view, but tonight I'm feeling tired and alone. Dear lord, I hope we didn't go wrong and it's crazy and fan brand new
It's amazing! I could a few and feeling tat long, I hope we did and go wrong when you're at the top down look back and wonder you know: what's it all worth it, and, by the fourth verse. This character is now close to losing its mind. You know it feel. Like a god, I think I'm waiting back on my fears, I can move freely, a guy, fun to use vocal effects to plant the theatre for europe, and that is a bit out of the song. So in the second verse of the song when it says he far, yeah misty lack any treasure. I picked up The spoken lyric, a fourth and get this kind of new harmony that enters, though yeah misty lack any cash and even I'm not really singing it's sort of suggesting a note which isn't really in the scale at all of the song which cause
it's this alien feeling and a sense of kind of subtle. invasion and isabel sinister. You know it gives a kind of he tonality he seems misty lack any treasure make us a good gave such a man after founded I was definitely super aware of the political climate when I was writing this and as a new and are living in america watching how people rise through a campaign right, how they start, but just like their signs out on the white ticket fences and Ivan reference them in the lurch. Again, oh see me on television on billboards and banners why picket fence is like you know, there's something again admirable about this kind of journey of ascension and making yourself no end to the world and has been very interesting to witness how things turn, how things twist, how things turn nasty once they started with such good intentions, how things warp at that point. a break from this incessant spoken charge? the main character. I want
To contrast, the spoken word with something a lot more melodic. It was doing a few demos for diplow at the time and me diplo had the song we working on for korean addis seal, and I wrote this focal and I had this really hooky able section we're texting one day and being like hey, I'm listening back to that demo and it's like is cl going to use it. You know it's like he's gonna going down a different role with the album, and I think for now is just in limbo. What is it all if I use it I You could really work with a solemn recording at the moment I go for it had to do. A bunch of pitching like to get this kind of vocal chant into the right key. But the great thing that happens when you doing basic pitch if work is, is, does it take on the quality of a sample?
Terrible sounds all over it and pops and everything which is totally aesthetic. Kind of became something that sounds like a kids charm. and I really liked the contrast of, like a heavy tough beat with this euphoric chant of usefulness, so had these melodic aspects now, which felt good, but I needed- Is it to follow that? You know I needed the cord to actually speak to that right now. Everything was droning on one note, so this is the part, you know where I started to call in favour musicians of mine lars home. Fit who play isn't a band called jogger is from Norway, miss in new york, We were working on the song together. He was the first person to kind of suggest a cordial
is that, under the song that progression, you here is something that lies first played out at my place, manhattan windows. China is going on my knees up. We have courts. It actually sit under meet that and move around that so that you can get more emotion from these words and then we got on the profit that specific these from the late seventys the profit from sequential circuits. The profit and played around what kind of a sound that would be really ferocious on the song rights, something that would jump out of the speakers because flicking through precepts- and we found this insane profit precept weaker,
ro, so finding. The sound gave us this like new character that would cut him burst out of the speakers. When got to the end of the song. We both agree that it would be so fun to kind of give it why final climax. You know, take it to some cool words that suggested an arrival or I guess the final ascension. You know if this is the story about a character, rises to the top and is eventually blinded by it's kind of singular pursuit of one thing: I have to do that musically. So here
started playing along these chords and moving the baseline underneath the vocals, and it felt really exciting. I think it would be done back then to the EU and eu and instead of the baseline, just moving on the downbeat of every kit of the drums and now started to be preemptive makes the whole thing kind of feel quite urgent and exciting. The bases are jumping ahead of the bead. As doing these new flourishes, there when the cords come in at the end over the final, vocal chand, we pray the gutters like martyrs, be followed. You said to me this
the crowds of people who invested all their trust in the I don't u known so it needs to be emotional way. my favorite moment of the song and away because the production gets so thick and wide an inch comes right back to that very kind of like chrome, prime or place of just the drums and the vocal the urgency is pushed under the song before your collapses and forced to pieces. You know they built me out to be beaten. That's the final sentiment of the song apparent where market sooner from cheap paper. We have to prepare a report. We have to prepare. The songs, a cautionary tale. We want to be, of course, empowering the wound, Do you know it's a siren, a star?
Replace of innocence but wines up space, a delusion space where we have to ask you questions like. Am I really fighting for the right thing here, but price? Will I pay to attain it? How bobble one go. I like to ask those questions, because I see it in myself. I see my own desire to be larger than life to exceed my wildest expectations, but I also see like a disconnect that can emerge from that as well. We've all taste power was tasted. That feeling of being able to be above other is in god it's enticing, isn't it, and now here is top of the world by camera in its entirety
the for more visit
song exploded, dot, net, slash, camera, you'll, find link To buy or stream top of the world and you can watch the music video. This episode is sponsored by square space. The all in one platform that lets. You make a website that both beautiful and full of cool functionality. Square space has great tools, for a search engine optimization. So people can find your posts and pages easily or if you want people to book, appointments ask you questions or join mailing list square space thanks all of those things, super symbol to set up an square space over two hundred top level domains say, can find the perfect name for your website check out. Where space dot com for a free trial, when you're ready to launch go to school Space dot com, slash explode her to save ten percent off your first purchase of a website or domain song motor is brought you by progressive must have you aren't just. Sitting right now: you're driving cleaning and even exercising, but what If you could be saving money by switching to progressive
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We even automatically pay your collaborators, so you don't have to hire an account to get ten percent of your first years. Membership just head to distro kid dot, com, slash, vip, slash song, exploded. This episode was originally produced by me, along with christian Koontz, the risk It was made by me craig guilty catholic smith and married on the episode. Our work is by Carlos Lemme, and I made the shows the music and logo song is a proud member of radio tokyo from pierre rags and network of independent listener supported artist own podcast. You can learn, more about our shows at radio tokyo, fm. Follow me on twitter and instagram at receive your way. Follow the show at song exploder, you can also get a song exploded, t shirt, tat, song, exploder, dot net, sure I'm. She case your way, thanks for listening
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-15.