For her sophomore album, Natalia Kills turned towards a more introspective, personal series of songs, and as a result, we are left with an album which needs more than just a first listen to understand it.
Perfectionist, Kills's debut, showed the world that she was a radio-ready pop singer, but with Trouble, Kills elevates this title to unique, self-aware pop artist. Perfectionist had a pretty consistent set of good songs driven by electronic beats and synthesizers, but it seemed to be missing a sense of individualism and sensitivity. With Trouble, Natalia Kills brings an incredibly amount of these two elements. She reveals emotion honestly and provides us a window into her world. Her lyrics have become far more grown up and meaningful, with some of them almost shockingly honest.
With regard to the musical aspect of the album, it is far less electronically driven and more inclined towards a rock-pop sound. The songs are driven primarily by drums and guitars, with some other percussion and/or keys showing up occasionally, as on "Saturday Night," the second single from the album. Some people have said the music isn't as catchy as that on Perfectionist, but I would argue that it is just as catchy, though maybe not upon first listen.
The other big difference with this album is Natalia's voice, which sounds far deeper and heavier than it did on her debut album. I personally think this lends more power to her voice and to the music, and this part of her voice balances well with the complex arrangements.
"Television"- A strong electro song with an AMAZING spoken intro with a strong musical background. Somewhat like Perfectionist, but a little more heavy sounding. Standout. (5/5)
"Problem"- Obviously a great song. It's not strongest lyrically, but it is incredibly catchy and well-orchestrated. (4.5/5)
"Stop Me"- A fast-paced song about running away and being wild. Catchy and well-done. (4/5)
"Boys Don't Cry"- Driven by guitars and claps, this song recalls a somewhat retro sound (80s?), but with a very modern twist. (4/5)
"Daddy's Girl"- This song stands out to me. Relates her feelings of love towards her father, despite having lost everything he gained for their family. Great song. (5/5)
"Saturday Night"- Still one of my favorites, released as the second single from the album. The lyrics are heartbreaking, and Natalia's deep voice lends a greater sense of emotion to the song. (5/5)
"Devil's Don't Fly"- A song that Natalia stated is about her suicidal thoughts at seventeen. Once again, very emotional and clear in its message. (4.5/5)
"Outta Time"- Released as a free single on iTunes, this song is very simply done, which lends it its uniqueness. (4/5)
"Controversy"- The buzz single from this album... deals with the influence of media on humanity. Very heavily driven by the bass, this song is not the best but is an interesting listen. (4/5)
"Rabbit Hole"- A song Kills previewed a long time ago live. Once again not the best, but still a catchy song. Like "Controversy," heavily driven by bass. Very reminiscent of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl." (4/5)
"Watching You"- Written about Natalia stalking her ex-boyfriend, this song doesn't stand out initially, but after a few listens, I have been "converted" to this tune. (4.5/5)
"Marlboro Lights"- Another song about suicidal thoughts, this song, driven by the piano, floats in the air and displays a very vulnerable Natalia. (5/5)
"Trouble"- This song is already one of my favorites. Between the dramatic music and the deathly beautiful lyrics, this song screams with emotion. An incredible step forward for Natalia and a real standout from all her songs. (so incredible it's not worth even rating)
Overall, this album is a really incredible one (DEFINITELY no sophomore slump), and I would recommend at least giving it a listen, because it is truly fantastic.