Kirbie – Human
“Human” is the first single from Kirbie’s second album, Melon Soup, and announces the next stage in her development as both a performer and songwriter. She’s achieved, at an early age, artistic success that others never achieve after decades in the trenches. Having one’s own sound and style in a world where the path of least resistance is, inevitable, more rewarded stands out as a truly remarkable thing about this performer. She certainly has her influences, but they are so deeply woven into her own identity that they become indistinguishable from her own voice. She sings with unfettered passion, always tempering her voice with a workable amount of finesse, and surrounds herself with a bevy of equally tasteful collaborators who definitely believe that the notes really mattering most are the ones you don’t play. “Human” has a powerhouse talent at the center of its performance and an artful, understated backing that allows the song plenty of room to breathe.
You can immediately hear that amiable, loosely confident quality. The composition kicks off with some echo-laden drums swinging like mad before the production clears and the song begins in earnest. It’s dominated musically by keyboards, but “Human” slowly changes as the track progresses by orchestrating the drumming approach, incorporating some percussion breaks, and further coloring from guitar flourishes. Kirbie’s songwriting brings these various musical strains together in a greater whole and it effortlessly flows from the beginning onward. There’s no hesitancy in the playing or straining for effect; Kirbie’s backing band are on point throughout the entirety of this performance and they play with equal parts skill and deep feeling. It makes for a satisfying outing by any stylistic or technical standard and Kirbie’s collaborators provide her songwriting with a first class backing that helps realize the song’s potential.
Her vocals are fantastic from start to finish. She emerges as a confident singing in the first line and winds through the lyrics and phrasing with confidence that’s never strident or overstated. The character she fills the lyrics with, however, is full of conviction and rightly so – “Human” has a lyrical message that’s timeless and has a calm assurance about its vision of the truth. She milks the right emotional peaks in the song for all their worth and shows careful attention to the lyrics at other key points that modulates the emotional rise and fall of the song. The plain-spoken wisdom in the lyrics will win over listeners, but going a step further with a stunning vocal brings out even more of the truth and empathy strewn throughout the lyric. “Human” explores serious subjects with spartan, to the point language that drives to their heart of its depicted experience. There’s a lot more to win over listeners on this performance and Kirbie is clearly intent, from the outset, to communicate with her audience in the most dramatic terms possible, but yet with immense artistry. It’s virtually impossible to not like this song. Kirbie wins us over thanks to her skill and sincerity.