Where "save me" offered a mellow introduction to Kimbra’s next album era, the artist’s second single turns the energy up tenfold. An immediate, heart-pounding beat makes way for Kimbra’s distorted screams on "replay!" off A Reckoning, as she aggressively questions out loud, "What’s the matter with my head? Stuck in automatic."
For Kimbra, "replay!" is about her "experience of being on loop," as she explains. "There’s this movie going on around in my head replaying both the beautiful and the terrifying times during a relationship." At the core of this cyclical addiction is "an inability to let go" because "hanging onto the pain made me feel like this person was still in my life."
Equally explosive and reflective, her single is made all the more impactful with a Colin Solal Cardo-directed music video that shows Kimbra thrashing in the middle of a constant, circling camera. "I’m interested in the motivations behind our anger and compulsive tendencies," she says, which is felt through her physically demanding performance in the visual.
Below, watch the PAPER premiere of "replay!" off Kimbra's forthcoming studio album, A Reckoning, out January 27.
How does "Replay" reflect the sounds and themes explored on A Reckoning?
It covers them all: Anger, chaos, conflict, violence, sex, heartbreak, protest and self-assertion. A Reckoning is all about facing who you are and owning it for the world to see.
You started working on this album in 2018. How has it evolved over the years since then?
Obviously I had to keep questioning if it was still relevant, appropriate, necessary and worthwhile to continue making it in light of all that was changing in the world. The resounding answer was most definitely "yes." Over time I kept making it more and more dangerous because it felt right to do something with real substance now that our world was being forced to look at ourselves in such an exposed way. I wanted to capture the way I feel on stage too, which is very free.
The music video looks so physical and emotionally intense. What was the experience like on set?
I’ve lived this shit. It’s not the first time confronting the stuff in my head, the challenge is just making it palpable and real for the viewer. I loved every second of this video, it was very liberating.
This song sounds more experimental, sonically, than the music you're largely known for. What inspired or provoked this more unruly sound?
I just like to shake up expectations. I’m always searching for a more vivid sonic landscape to convey my internal world. I worked with a female producer, called BRUX, on this song. We get tired of the assumption that we make soft music, so we just decided to fuck it up and be loud.
What larger message does "Replay" send? There's a loose commentary on mental health, but also love and relationships.
Definitely. The larger message of "Replay" is, "Lean into your fear, face the loop to break the loop."
Photos courtesy of Kimbra/ Colin Solal Cardo