As spring blooms so do the careers of three lovely ladies - that's right, our girls Kimbra, Janelle, and Neon Hitch are doing FANTASTICALLY! Here at Unapologetically POP, we are positively thrilled with what these three unique songstresses are bringing to POP music; but it is not only the ladies' singular sounds that have propelled them to front & center - it is also the power of a little something called "the feature" - Janelle on Fun.'s We Are Young (which just spent 6 weeks at #1 in the US) & Kimbra on Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know (which peaked at #1 this week) & Neon on Gym Class Heroes' Ass Back Home.
We wrote about Kimbra's pending international breakthrough a few months ago, & now, it looks like our leading lady is finding millions more fans. Daily. Like, for real for real. Since we last wrote about her, Kimbra has toured with Gotye, played SXSW, & released an electro POP converse add. Now she's preparing for an upcoming tour with fellow unlikely POP sensation Foster the People, in addition to writing with Mark Foster & John Legend! She's also added a handful of songs to the American release of her album, Vows, including songs with (STOP THE PRESS) - GREG KURSTIN, our favorite producer who basically gives us musical wet dreams. Speaking of wet dreams, watch the three-way collaboration between Kimbra, A-Trak, & Mark Foster below. Unfortunately, it is a non-sexual collaboration.
Janelle herself is gearing up for an exhaustive tour. Some have questioned the purpose of Janelle's feature on Fun.'s #1 hit; however, having heard We Are Young live, we can attest that Janelle's vocals, albeit brief, truly carry the bridge. Singing "na na na" along with the melody just does not satisfy the way Janelle does. She brings a softness to a song that is loud and brash, providing the perfect counterbalance to Nate Ruess' Freddy Mercury shriek. Rumor has it that her second album will soon be released, and as much as we love Janelle for her alternative sound, we hope she's able to maximize her emotional honesty by surrounding it with some sugary POP melodies. We want this talented lady to capitalize on all of this well-deserved attention!
Finally, our girl Neon Hitch has entered POP consciousness through her feature on Gym Class Heroes' A$$ Back Home. In fact, we think her hook is the best part of the song - it's sweet with a sad sizzle, just how we like it! The release of the song is perfectly timed, as Neon will soon be releasing her debut album, Beg, Borrow, & Steal, produced with a wide array of people from Benny Blanco (her partner in crime and Dr. Luke's former protege) to Imogen Heap. We can't wait to hear what she brings to the table. She's such a unique woman! We hope she taps into that individuality when it comes time for her to differentiate herself from Ke$ha, Katy, and RiRi. Those of you looking for your fix of Hitch should check out her first single, F.U. Betta. As much as we enjoy the song, we know she can do betta, and we can't wait to hear it.
Exactly how much power has the feature slot provided? Measuring this is probably too mathematically complex for us POP bloggers, but we do know that the feature slot has certainly propelled these shimmering chanteuses into the POP public's eye (remember how many features Nicki Minaj performed before her solo album?). Moreover, with the changing landscape of music (genre mixing and a return to alternative sounds - see the success of Fun., Gotye, etc.) Kimbra and Janelle have as much of a chance of breaking into the mainstream as the uber-commercial (but super-awesome) Neon. For our favorite "featured" ladies, it is only up from here!
Gregory & Minna