Kimya Dawson’s newest album Thunder Thighs goes beyond the Kimya we know and love to discover an evolved version of her former self. Released in October 2011, this album shows the growth and maturity of an artist that is absolutely not comparable to any other artist on the planet. Through music, sound and lyrics, Kimya sounds like her former self, but more evolved, more experimental.
In some songs on the album, Pablo Das and Aesop Rock aid Kimya in experimenting with new sounds, styles and music. Whilst other songs, sound like genuine Remember that I love you style tunes with only simple guitar rhythms and that beautiful almost child-like voice.
On the first track “All I Could Do,” Kimya shows her age, her maturity. Her subject matter moves from the craziness of youth that has been heard in other albums to her trying to be a good mother. Kimya sings “It’s okay if at the end of the day all I can do next/ is be a good mother.”
The next track “Mare and the Bear” is strikingly different as a child sings along with Dawson. It sounds almost like some sort of Nick Jr. song, but better, trying to teach a child that appearances don’t mean a damn thing.
In “Year 10,” Pablo Das sings in unison with Dawson “It’s year 10, and I’m a baby again. I need my friends like I did back then.” This song has a simple, beautiful guitar rhythm and sounds like classic Dawson, just commenting on how friends grow apart as families start. This song also shows how far Dawson has come from songs like “Who’s got the crack?” as she vehemently is anti-drug.
“Miami Advice” featuring Aesop Rock has some definite rap elements which aren’t necessarily for me, but some might enjoy that sort of thing. It is very fast-paced, however, and could provide for excellent dance music. The best thing about Kimya’s songs are the lyrics. My particular favorite lyric from the album lives in this song: “I’m sending off my monkeys in the backs of the pink elephants/ so it doesn’t matter if my lyrics are irrelevant.”
Dawson then throws in a self-motivation tune entitled “Solid and Strong,” and then another song with rap elements with the help of Aesop Rock again, “Zero or a Zillion.”
Again, Dawson changes rapidly to her classic sound with “Same Shit Complicated” about the repetitiousness of life. This is my personal favorite onThunder Thighs, but I’m a guppy for the classic Kimya.
And what would a Kimya Dawson album be without a song about a bike? Well, it probably wouldn’t be a Kimya Dawson album. To further her pattern of bike imagery, she includes a tune titled “I like my Bike.” Again, a child aids Kimya in this song’s execution.
Suddenly “Driving Driving Driving” changes the mood as the guitar sounds quite glum. The subject matter concerns motherhood and the importance of teaching your children about environmentalism, to “leave footsteps that are light.”
“You’re In” is another classic style Dawson melody that plays with that phrase and the word “Urine.” It’s about that inevitable moment when you pee on a stick and find out about an unexpected pregnancy.
“Walk Like Thunder” is the longest Kimya Dawson song ever, peaking at 10:35, and it is a virtual biography of some of her own ordeals, and deaths she’s dealt with.
At that point, it was time to do something weird, so there was “Captain Lou,” which also features Aesop Rock. Celebrity deaths are the subject matter, with one being particularly important, Captain Lou. Captain Lou was a professional wrestler and actor who died in October 2009. And for some reason, Kimya seemed to actually care for him. You can hear the emotion in her voice throughout the song.
Another song that just sounds sort of strange, in Kimya fashion, “Reflections” contains a bit of opera. Then “Unrefined” makes you think it’s a break-up song, but it’s not. That is, unless you’re breaking up with sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods.
Lastly, Kimya sings “Utopian Futures” which is her proclamation of a world, a dream world with no wars, more trees, no capitalism, less judgment. It is her dream world. She sings “I’m a dream. This is real.”
Overall, Thunder Thighs is worth a listen. It’s not my favorite Kimya album, but it’s still the voice, the simple guitar and the strange lyrics. It’s all you would expect from that woman with her converse on.