Perfectionist (album)

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Perfectionist
Studio album by Natalia Kills
Released 15 March 2011 (2011-03-15)
Recorded 2009–11; 11th Street Studios, American Dream, The Boom Boom Room, Chalice Recording Studios, Cherrytree Recording Studios, Enormous Studios, The Hive, Paradise Studios[1]
Genre Synthpop, dance-pop
Length 50:21
Label will.i.am, Cherrytree, Kon Live, Interscope
Producer Akon, Jeff Bhasker, Junior Caldera, Julien Carret, "The-Ron" Feemster, Fernando Garibay, Martin "Cherry Cherry Boom Boom" Kierszenbaum, Natalia Kills, Giorgio Tuinfort, Tony Ugval
Natalia Kills chronology
Perfectionist
(2011)
Trouble
(2013)
Singles from Perfectionist
  1. "Mirrors"
    Released: 10 August 2010 (2010-08-10)
  2. "Wonderland"
    Released: 12 April 2011 (2011-04-12)
  3. "Free"
    Released: 28 June 2011 (2011-06-28)
  4. "Kill My Boyfriend"
    Released: 10 January 2012 (2012-01-10)

Perfectionist is the debut studio album by English recording artist Natalia Kills, first released digitally on 15 March 2011 and physically on 1 April 2011. The album received positive to mixed reviews, but achieved moderate success in the charts. The album spawned four singles: "Mirrors", "Wonderland", "Free" and "Kill My Boyfriend".

Background[edit]

Kills had been working on the album since early 2009. It features production from Martin Kierszenbaum, Jeff Bhasker, Fernando Garibay, "The-Ron" Feemster, Akon and Giorgio Tuinfort.[1] Kills spoke about the album and her film, to coincide with the album, titled "The Exhibitionist": "I wanted to describe and express myself musically and visually. To show who I am and what inspires me. I love silent movies from the '20s. I wanted my film to be in the classic film noir style and tie in my album concept of Perfectionist."[2] A series of videos titled "Love, Kills xx" was uploaded to her Vevo account on YouTube, leading up the release date of Perfectionist. Natalia described the title of the album, and the meaning behind the name "Perfectionist":

"I'm a perfectionist. I think we all are to be honest. We're all looking for the best in everything in our lives; dating, career, appearance, money. My album is about the disappointments, frustrations and aspirations that come with looking for the ideal and finding out that nothing is every truly perfect."[3]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Kills said about the album's sound: "A lot of people have described my music as dark pop, which I can understand as the lyrics are depressive and more confrontational than a lot of mainstream music has been recently. It's however you think it should be described, I guess. I suppose I have a certain style that I like, but it's subconscious. My new single 'Mirrors' I'd describe as the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams" for 2011." "It's definitely a concept album: all the songs revolve around my ambition, celebrations, frustration and disappointments of being a perfectionist. I think we're all perfectionists – we're all looking for the best to fulfil our ideologies and dreams.[4]

The album opens with a short intro, which features a robotic-sounding therapist detailing her alter ego's imperfections. The next songs, "Wonderland and "Free" are shimmering synthpop numbers, "Free" is described as a destoken lighter track and echoes some of Kills’ earlier personas.[5] "Break You Hard" is a ballsy, attitude-laden number lent an atmospheric air thanks to its sparse hypnotic rhythms. The fifth song on the album "Zombie" is described as a gothic electro-R&B song. "Mirrors" fuses bubbling '80s synthpop basslines, stadium rock guitars, and an anthemic falsetto chorus on her most convincing performance as a feisty futuristic diva. "Not in Love" is an acid house-inspired slice of swirling electronica that provides a welcome respite from the album's constant floor-filling leanings.[6]

Acid Annie’ is described as giving an impression of a crazed, dance-tinged stab at a rock album, with lashings of electric guitar punctuated by heavy distortion and angry lyrical outbursts.[5] "Superficial" is another synthpop song, the songs lyrics explore the price of love as both ‘something money can’t buy’ and an irrepressible force that takes over your life in a 'surgical' way; something you can neither run or hide from.[5] The 13th track on the album "Nothing Lasts Forever" is a heavy Auto-Tuned track, described as a dark exploration of the addictive, fickle nature of the human soul.[5] The following track, "If I Was God", is described as a Timbaland-esque influenced song.[6] "Kill My Boyfriend" is a song featured on the US and UK edition of the album, its described as a song that plays out a 60's pop throwback with the story line of a horror movie, terrifyingly perfect.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[6]
Consequence of Sound 2.5/5 stars[8]
Digital Spy 4/5 stars[9]
musicOMH 2/5 stars[10]
So So Gay 4/5 stars[5]
Star 5/5 stars[11]

Lewis Corner of Digital Spy noted that "a dark and electro-gothic soundscape flirts with Kills's metaphor-strewn lyrics and humorous quips", which are "best showcased in 'Mirrors' and 'Zombie'". He continued: "Each moment of pop surreality flourishes from Kills's own vision, then is finely tailored by some of the industry's most respected figures—the result as exciting as it is completely bonkers."[9] British magazine Star viewed the album as "striking stuff and great moody pop to boot".[11] Jon O'Brien of Allmusic felt that "there's something a little too calculated" about the album, and that "Kills appears to be more concerned with proving that she's all grown up than actually producing any music to back it up", concluding that "Perfectionist is far too formulaic and gimmicky to live up to Kills' obvious maverick intentions."[6]

So So Gay had a positive response, saying: "It’s easy to forget that Natalia Kills is actually from Bradford, as the album has a distinctly American feel throughout. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, one can’t help but feel that Kills has sold out to producers and record executives in order to make her sound like ‘the next big thing’. While Natalia is blessed with a refreshingly individual sound, this is buried within layers of autotune and effects. However, throughout all this, the Kills vision shines through spectacularly. Every word from the introduction is clearly assessed and dissected in nearly every track, and this makes Perfectionist into an album that is easy to listen to without skipping a track; no mean feat."[5] Consequence of Sound gave the album a mixed review saying: "Her debut album, Perfectionist, marks the rise of Kills’ brand of pop: a healthy mix of Gaga and Rihanna, garnished with the beats of Britney’s best. She doesn’t vary from that promising pop formula, making her music far from groundbreaking. That said, her music does what pop does best: It makes you dance and doesn’t beg you to think."[8]

Chart performance[edit]

will.i.am signed Kills to his own label and he is also featured on Kills third single "Free".

Perfectionist achieved moderate success in the charts. The album reached a peak at number 35 in Austria and stayed in the charts for 8 weeks.[12] In Germany the album reached number 50 on the charts and remained in the charts for 3 weeks,[13] while peaking at number 94 in Switzerland and stayed in the charts for 1 week.[14] The album also reached a peak at number 36 in Canada,[15] 129 on the UK album charts.[16] In the USA it peaked at number 134,[17] while making it to number 6 on the Dance/Electronic album chart.[18]

Singles[edit]

"Mirrors" was released on 10 August 2010 as the album's lead single.[19] The song reached number seven in Austria, number ten in Germany and number fifty-two in Switzerland,[20] as well as number three on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart.[21] Second single "Wonderland" was released in the United States on 12 April 2011[22] and in Germany on 3 June 2011.[23] The music video was shot in late January 2011. "Wonderland" was featured in the 2011 romantic fantasy film Beastly.[24] The single peaked at number forty-five in Germany and number fifty-five in Austria.[25] "Free" served as the album's third single, featuring will.i.am. It was released in the US on 28 June 2011,[26] in Germany on 19 August 2011[27] and in the UK on 11 September 2011.[28] "Free" peaked at number four in Austria and number fifteen in Germany.[29] "Kill My Boyfriend" was released on 10 January 2012 as the album's fourth and final single.

Promotional singles[edit]

"Zombie", the first promotional single, was released on 21 December 2009.[30] It was used in the sixth episode of the first season of the Syfy reality television series Face Off, aired 2 March 2011.[31] "Activate My Heart" was released on 13 April 2010 as the second promotional single.[32] The song, however, did not make the final cut for the album.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Perfection"   Natalia Kills Martin "Cherry Cherry Boom Boom" Kierszenbaum 0:32
2. "Wonderland"   Kills, Michael Warren, "The-Ron" Feemster Feemster 3:31
3. "Free"   Kills, Jeff Bhasker, Scott Mescudi, Dion Wilson Bhasker, No I.D. (co.) 3:57
4. "Break You Hard"   Kills, Feemster Feemster 4:22
5. "Zombie"   Kills, Bhasker Bhasker 3:19
6. "Love Is a Suicide"   Kills, Fernando Garibay, Warren Garibay 3:57
7. "Mirrors"   Kills, Kierszenbaum, Akon, Giorgio Tuinfort Akon, Tuinfort, Kierszenbaum 3:16
8. "Not in Love"   Kills, Kierszenbaum Kierszenbaum 3:23
9. "Acid Annie"   Kills, Kierszenbaum Kierszenbaum 3:37
10. "Superficial"   Kills, Feemster Feemster 3:17
11. "Broke"   Kills, Garibay, Warren Garibay 4:08
12. "Heaven"   Kills, Bhasker Bhasker 4:49
13. "Nothing Lasts Forever" (featuring Billy Kraven) Kills, Bhasker Bhasker 3:30
14. "If I Was God"   Kills, Feemster Feemster 4:43

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Perfectionist adapted from liner notes.[1]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart[12] 35
Canadian Albums Chart[15] 36
German Albums Chart[39] 50
Swiss Albums Chart[14] 94
UK Albums Chart[16] 129
US Billboard 200[17] 134
US Dance/Electronic Albums[18] 6
US Heatseekers Albums[40] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format(s)
France[41] 15 March 2011 Universal Music Digital download
Austria[42] 1 April 2011 CD, digital download
Germany[13]
Switzerland[43]
Poland[44] 13 May 2011 CD
Canada[35] 16 August 2011 CD, digital download
United States[34] will.i.am, Cherrytree, Kon Live, Interscope
United Kingdom[38] 19 September 2011 Polydor
Brazil[45] 20 September 2011 Universal Music CD

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Perfectionist (CD liner notes). Natalia Kills. Interscope Records. 2011. 0602527682471. 
  2. ^ Biography on Natalia Kills' Myspace. Retrieved on 27 June 2010.
  3. ^ http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/58488133.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/music/interviews/a315625/natalia-kills.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d e f Martin, Matthew (30 August 2011). "Album Review: Natalia Kills – Perfectionist". So So Gay. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d O'Brien, Jon. "Perfectionist – Natalia Kills". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  7. ^ http://poponandon.com/listen-natalia-kills-kill-my-boyfriend/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b Dunsmore, Summer (22 August 2011). "Album Review: Natalia Kills – Perfectionist". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Corner, Lewis. "Natalia Kills: 'Perfectionist' – Album review". Digital Spy. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Kelly, Blair. "Natalia Kills – Perfectionist". musicOMH. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Natalia Kills – Perfectionist". Star. Northern & Shell Media Publications. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Natalia Kills – Perfectionist" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "NATALIA KILLS | Perfectionist" (in German). Universal Music Germany. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Natalia Kills – Perfectionist". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 April 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Top 100 Albums in Canada". Jam! Canoe.ca. 25 August 2011. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "The Official UK Albums Chart for the week ending 1 October 2011". ChartsPlus (Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd) (527). 
  17. ^ a b "Natalia Kills – Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Natalia Kills – Chart history: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Mirrors – Single by Natalia Kills". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  20. ^ "Natalia Kills – Mirrors". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  21. ^ "Natalia Kills – Chart history: Dance/Club Play Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  22. ^ "Wonderland – Single by Natalia Kills". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  23. ^ "NATALIA KILLS | Wonderland" (in German). Universal Music Germany. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  24. ^ "Beastly (2011) – Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  25. ^ "Natalia Kills – Wonderland". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  26. ^ "Free (feat. will.i.am) – Single by Natalia Kills". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  27. ^ "NATALIA KILLS | Free feat. will.i.am" (in German). Universal Music Germany. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 
  28. ^ "Free – EP by Natalia Kills". iTunes Store UK. Apple Inc. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  29. ^ "Natalia Kills feat. will.i.am – Free". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  30. ^ "Zombie – Single by Natalia Kills". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  31. ^ "The Dancing Dead". Face Off. Season 1. Episode 6. 2 March 2011. Syfy.
  32. ^ "Activate My Heart – Single by Natalia Kills". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  33. ^ "Perfectionist (Bonus Track Version) von Kills" (in German). iTunes Store Germany. Apple Inc. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  34. ^ a b "Natalia Kills : Releases : Perfectionist". Interscope Records. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  35. ^ a b "PERFECTIONIST by NATALIA KILLS". HMV Canada. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  36. ^ "Perfectionist by Kills". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  37. ^ "Perfectionist (Deluxe Version) by Kills". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  38. ^ a b "Natalia Kills: Perfectionist". HMV. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  39. ^ "Natalia Kills | Longplay-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Musicline.de. PHONONET GmbH. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  40. ^ "Natalia Kills – Chart history: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  41. ^ "Perfectionist (International Version) de Natalia Kills" (in French). iTunes Store France. Apple Inc. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  42. ^ "Natalia Kills – Perfectionist" (in German). Universal Music Austria. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  43. ^ "Perfectionist" (in German). Schweizer Radio DRS. SRG SSR. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  44. ^ "Natalia Kills – Perfectionist (polska cena!) – Natalia Kills" (in Polish). Universal Music Poland. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  45. ^ "Perfectionist (nacional)" (in Portuguese). Livraria Cultura. Retrieved 3 September 2011.