On Nikita Karmen's debut EP, she succeeds in bringing a completely unique perspective into country music. Australian-born, this singer/songwriter writes with a sincerity and wit that is often hard to find in American country singers, but is found in Nikita Karmen's music. The first new offering after Karmen's debut single, "Out of the Park," Nikita Karmen is a pleasure to listen to. Continue reading for a track-by-track review of Karmen's new project.
"First": With a little more of a poppy sound than the other songs, "First" sounds like an Ellie Goulding cut with twang. The lyrics are clever, with lines like "She's wearing that trendy Tom Petty t-shirt, I'll stop being petty about your American girl." The song is catchy in the way a Nikita Karmen song has evolved to be: understated, but still a jam. The topic isn't a new one, but the sharpness of the writing and the sound makes it sound brand new.
"Warned Me": The most upbeat song on the record, the sound of "Warned Me" is incredibly interesting. The consistent banjo line acts a little bit like synths do in a dubstep song, building the song up and up towards the end of the chorus. Karmen lists all of the things her mother did warn her about, but then lists the one thing she didn't warn her about: you, or the man in the song. A standout lyric occurs in the chorus, with "an ugly heart can still have a pretty face."
"Curfew": This is the best song on the EP. It's one of two ballads, and the production is a nice mix of acoustic guitar and piano. Karmen provides a new perspective on someone leaving love and not working at a relationship with the idea that "love has a curfew." The song focuses on the power struggles in a relationship, how the guy has all of the power, and is calling all of the shots. An element of finality is added in at the bridge when Karmen sings, "If you don't want to see where this thing goes, then just take me home."
"Love in a Thrift Shop": If Karmen is trying to be unique, with this song she succeeds. There is no song out there that I've heard that has this premise, and that's what makes Nikita Karmen so special. She takes inspiration from places where other people don't. This song is uptempo country-pop, and is so undeniably "Nikita Karmen," you can't help but sing along.
"Nobody With Me": The EP closes on a slower note. "Nobody With Me" is a bittersweet song, with Karmen encouraging someone she loves to find out who they are, and who they could be, but also desperately missing them. The repeated use of the word "maybe" in the pre-chorus after the more encouraging verses transitions beautifully into the coaxing chorus. And even in a more serious song like this, Karmen manages to throw in a little humor with a modern-day reference to Steve Jobs before the final chorus.