Thursday, February 9, 2012

Exclusive: Kimberly Cole - "Robot" (Unreleased)

Peerless pop songstress Kimberly Cole excited fans last week with the announcement of her upcoming single, the first since "Arrow Through My Heart" arrived in August and only the second release since her precociously brilliant debut album Bad Girls Club dropped Christmas 2010 (remember?). Cole is as under-appreciated as she is masterful at the art of dance pop, which is to say quite a bit, but luckily for pop fans she and her equally talented long-time producer Jean-Yves haven't given up on us yet. Cole reunites with the "Arrow Through My Heart" team of house producer Eddie Amador and brand new rapper Garza on "You Make Me Wanna..." which lands March 6 from Big Beat/Atlantic Records (yes! A real label!).

I had an opportunity to hear the single last week and to me it sounded more restrained, confident and a lot more house-ish, in the way techno actually sounds right now, as opposed to how pop is presenting techno. (It also is in no way reminiscent of an Usher slow jam.) I think not only will fans be pleased, the competently house-inspired pop single could win the singer some new fans from the techno side of the club (the track is a remixer's dream). It would certainly be good for all of us, since a single or two that garner especially positive SALES response will likely green-light an eventual sophomore LP, this time under a label that's better suited to promoting the full project in the long term.

One of the things about the trial and error, pasta against the wall nature of music creation is that a lot of songs get written and tracks get recorded and mixed but never see the light of day. Sometimes this is because they're shit, a necessary part of the process, but a lot of times the abandoned works are perfectly good, but timing, fit with an album's sound/theme (or capacity), legal hullabaloos, and whatnot get in the way. When that happens, smart artists often try "shopping" a song or track around to other artists or labels in hopes of still making some money from the work ("Miss Independent" was written for Christina Aguilera's album Stripped but ultimately made its way onto Kelly Clarkson's debut; Rihanna lucked out when "Umbrella," written for Britney Spears, was unsuccessfully pitched to Mary J. Blige). In the end, though, there's a lot left over (see The Ke$ha Project), and that always made me sad, the idea of perfectly enjoyable music never being heard after all outlets for profit are tried in vain.

That's why I have a treat for you today: here is the exclusive "premiere" of "Robot," a previously unheard, unreleased track by Kimberly Cole (produced by Jean-Yves as usual, happily).

"Robot," I emphasize, was made before Bad Girls Club, and even (I believe) before the 2009 Superstar EP and 2008 Nitty Gritty EP, but even at that early stage (this is back when she was in full roller-skating mode!) you can hear a lot of the polish, skill, and musical traits (clever vocal production, clever sound effects, occasionally muddy lyrics) that reach maturity on Bad Girls Club and are on prime display on Cole's masterpiece, "Smack You."

Hopefully this tides fans over for a while during the month-long wait for "You Make Me Wanna..." Don't say I never gave you anything!

Kimberly Cole - "Robot" (Unreleased)

(And for heaven's sake, go buy Bad Girls Club right NOW. I guarantee you will find it money well spent. Do it and report back, and maybe I'll give you something else!)

Kimberly Cole on Twitter, Facebook

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